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Sokha's plea for ‘trust’ falls on deaf ears

Opposition acting leader Kem Sokha speaks at the Cambodia National Rescue Party headquarters on Monday. Photo supplied
Opposition acting leader Kem Sokha speaks at the Cambodia National Rescue Party headquarters on Monday. Photo supplied

Sokha's plea for ‘trust’ falls on deaf ears

The Kingdom’s political stalemate looks set to continue, with an entreaty for cooperation from Cambodia National Rescue Party acting leader Kem Sokha yesterday swatted away by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

Sokha has now spent more than two months holed up in the party’s Phnom Penh headquarters after an attempt by armed police to arrest him in late May for ignoring a court summons linked to his alleged affair with a hairdresser.

The case, which has landed four human rights workers, an election official and an opposition commune chief in jail, has been widely slammed by critics of the government as a political ploy to neutralise their rivals.

However, the CPP has steadfastly denied this, saying that the defendants have broken the law and should face the consequences.

Speaking yesterday, Sokha, who is the party’s most senior leader in the country after CNRP president Sam Rainsy fled into self-imposed exile last year, issued a thinly veiled appeal to the CPP, saying it was time for talk and trust.

“I believe that it should be time for Cambodians to trust one another through expressing ideas and recognising the value of each other,” Sokha said. “We have to trust each other, stop colouring, threatening, killing, hating and taking revenge on one another, and turn to find a positive idea for serving all Cambodians protecting and developing the country together so it will become prosperous for all Cambodians in the future.”

However CPP spokesman Sok Eysan yesterday rejected the opposition’s message as a “trick”, saying the party cast itself in a positive light publicly but undermined their ruling counterparts, and caused “disunity” through what he said were unwarranted “attacks”.

“Do not shake our hand and step on our feet,” Eysan said, saying that it was “late” for negotiations.

He said the CPP would consider negotiations if the CNRP stopped its criticism, but also noted the party would wait for several ongoing legal cases against the opposition to finish before it engaged in talks.

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