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Parties seek to mend ‘culture of dialogue’

Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng (left) and CNRP deputy president Kem Sokha shake hands at a meeting at the National Assembly in Phnom Penh earlier this month.
Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng (left) and CNRP deputy president Kem Sokha shake hands at a meeting at the National Assembly in Phnom Penh earlier this month. Hong Menea

Parties seek to mend ‘culture of dialogue’

Six opposition lawmakers have been assigned to a committee to repair the so-called culture of dialogue with the ruling party, which has yet to announce candidates for its own working group to tackle the issue.

Yem Ponharith said opposition lawmaker Pol Ham was put forward as president while members would include Yim Sovann, Ou Chanrith, Eng Chhay Eang, Mao Monyvann and Ho Vann.

Ponharith said the groups from each side would work together, before their party respective leaders met, to identify problems to address.

Cambodian People’s Party spokesman Sok Eysan said members of the ruling party’s group would be chosen soon.

The initiative emerged from December 10 peace talks between Interior Minister Sar Kheng and Cambodia National Rescue Party acting president Kem Sokha.

With CNRP president Sam Rainsy abroad in self-imposed exile to avoid jail on seemingly politically motivated charges, the pair agreed on several points to defuse the tense political climate.

They pledged to form a group to analyse how to improve the “culture of dialogue”, a largely ignored agreement born from the July 2014 political deal, which stipulates that parties should cease the combative rhetoric that has long characterised Cambodian politics.

“The previous [culture of dialogue] was good, [but we] hope to promote it more, so it is better than before,” Eysan said.

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