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Rainsy and Ranariddh pressured into truce

Rainsy and Ranariddh pressured into truce

S AM RAINSY has indicated that both he and Funcinpec leader Prince Norodom

Ranariddh have made "concessions" that have led to a "truce" in their bitter

dispute.

Rainsy, the former Finance Minister, appeared set to be sacked

from the party, and then possibly the National Assembly, until heavyweight

internal and international pressure swung in his favor.

"We seemed to

have reached a truce and things have calmed down... I hope it will continue to

prevail and that we will get to a real peace," he told the Post on June

13.

The truce is a tenuous one: "On a legal basis, yes I am still in the

party, unless some arbitrary decision in violation of party bylaws is made," he

said.

Asked about rumors of a deal being cut - Ranariddh, in the face of

pressure from Assembly chairman Chea Sim and a huge array of foreign diplomats

and politicians; and Rainsy being told to apologize - Rainsy was more guarded

than usual.

"I do not have the right to comment. I can neither confirm

nor deny. Whatever I have done, it doesn't belong to me now, it belongs to

Prince Ranariddh. I can tell you I have done the maximum I could."

"I

don't want to comment or elaborate. You should ask the other side," he

said.

When asked who then "backed down", Rainsy said: "This is very

difficult. For any reasonable agreement there has to be satisfaction for both

sides. And both sides have to make concessions."

"As for me, I would

never make concessions on principle. I would on many things... personal things,

I would swallow my pride. But on principle, never."

Chea Sim's June 10

statement signaled the likely outcome of Prince Ranariddh's bid to have Rainsy

expelled.

Chea Sim - without once referring to Rainsy by name - said he

had received messages of concern from US Senators and Congressmen, members of

the House of Lords, MPs from Japan and Switzerland, the Inter-Parliament Union

and many others about "a number of events" happening within the

Assembly.

He said the Assembly would not take any action contradictory to

the "root bases of liberal democracy", nor would they abandon the respect for

international norms and human rights.

"We will not make our friends

abroad lose faith and confidence in the National Assembly, the Royal government

and the Cambodian leaders," he said.

Rainsy said that Chea Sim's

statement was "self-explanatory and very clear".

"I think he has enhanced

the image of the CPP. I feel sorry that Funcinpec has not benefited from these

latest developments... on the contrary, Funcinpec seems to have suffered,"

Rainsy said. "I feel this is shared by many people," he said.

Rainsy said

he was not surprised by Chea Sim's support, but was happy. "I hope every

Cambodian leader adopts the same attitude. Then Cambodia will really move

forward to a genuine democracy."

Rainsy was quick to praise all the

"international friends" for their concern.

"They played a very important

role," he said, adding it was the duty of all Cambodians to take into account

that concern shown.

About an alleged private comment from Ranariddh that

he would resign as Prime Minister should Rainsy remain in the party and

Assembly, Rainsy said: "I feel sorry that all these developments take on a

personal form."

"Personal considerations seem to prevail over ideals of

principles," he said.

"It is up to Prince Ranariddh to speak that

language. It is not my language."

Rainsy said he felt more comfortable

and more secure than he did a week ago. "I feel encouraged in my fight for legal

and democratic principles but it is not a personal victory."

"It is a

victory for democracy in Cambodia, for Parliament to really be an independent

body. This enhances the honor of all MPs," he said.

When asked whether he

would remain an outspoken representative, he said: "I will continue to support

the interest of the country, even if it is to the detriment to the party's

interest."

When asked if he could continue to work with Prince Ranariddh,

he said: "I can work with anybody, provided they abide by legal, democratic

principles."

"If you do justice even to your enemy, they can be turned

into your friend."

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