Coalition Summit Hangs an Prince’s Request

King Norodom Sihanouk wrote Monday that he is waiting for a formal request from his son, Fun­cinpec leader Prince Noro­dom Ranariddh, before calling a summit aimed at breaking the deadlock following last week’s failed coalition negotiations.

The CPP and the Sam Rainsy Party have both written to King Sihanouk asking him to help resolve the crisis, party officials said. However, the monarch indicated Monday that he cannot call a summit unless all three parties formally request him to do so.

“Regarding this issue, I am waiting to receive news from [Prince Ranariddh]. Will he have such a request too?” the King wrote in response to opposition politician Sam Rainsy’s request for a summit outside Cambodia.

Funcinpec Secretary-General Tol Lah said Funcinpec had “agreed in principle” to ask for a summit, but he did not know when Prince Ranariddh, who is in Bangkok, would make the formal request.

“I am waiting for instructions from my boss,” Tol Lah said Monday afternoon.

One sticking point may be whether the prince requests a summit inside or outside of Cambodia.

The Sam Rainsy Party issued a statement Sunday saying the summit should be on “neutral ground,” suggesting Beijing, where the King is due to have medical treatment, Tokyo or Bangkok. The CPP opposes talks outside the country, rejecting opposition members’ suggestions that they face intimidation or arrest in Cambodia.

Funcinpec has not yet made an official statement on a summit location.

A joint statement from the two parties faxed to the media Sun­day was “premature” and had been mistakenly distributed before approval by Funcinpec, the Sam Rainsy Party said.

The hoped-for summit, which would be the second called by King Sihanouk since the July 26 elections, is aimed at coming to an agreement to form a government based on the election results.

The CPP won a majority of seats in parliament but lacks the two-thirds majority needed to form a government on its own.

Top CPP official Sar Kheng Monday urged the opposition to stop stalling.

“We are disappointed because some politicians do not have good intentions to form a coalition government. They delay all the time,” the co-minister of Interior said Monday at the opening of a school in Phnom Penh.

“No one can change the re­sults of the elections. They should stop dreaming and move quickly,” Sar Kheng said.




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