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Prince Ranariddh Is Silent on PM Hun Sen's Criticism

Prime Minister Hun Sen criticized Prince Norodom Ranariddh from Kampong Cham city, for the second time, criticisms alleged to be verbal attacks, and that may be ignited to be political conflict between the Cambodian People's Party (CPP), led by Mr. Hun Sen, and the royalist FUNCINPEC party, led by prince Ranariddh.

The conflict may lead to a split between the two parties, after the CPP shakes hands with the opposition Sam Rainsy party (SRP).

But a government high ranking official, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, says that the alliance of the two parties in the coalition government has no problem, because Mr. Hun Sen did not point to any individual or any particular party by name.

On Sunday 02-26-06, Mr. Hun Sen mocks a party and an individual, although not by name, but was perceived as saying that he attacked prince Ranariddh when he said that he will threaten to withdraw any government official who was appointed by a woman who is a mistress of a high ranking official.

Mr. Hun Sen compared this woman to a demonic fox.

Prince Norodom Ranariddh declines to comment to reporters upon his return to Cambodia from a visit to Singapore. A number of FUNCINPEC party's officials who went to the Phnom Penh international airport to greet the prince say that he does not wish to comment on current political issues.

Opposition party leader Sam Rainsy welcomes the prince's position to remain silent.

Mr. Khieu Kanharith who is the government's spokesman seems to defend Mr. Hun Sen's criticisms, saying that the prime minister has not criticized prince Ranariddh openly, but that he hopes that the two parties will find a solution to this problem.

The CPP and the FUNCINPEC party have a conflict regarding Mr. Hun Sen's proposal to change the National Assembly's committees' structures.

Mr. Khieu Kanharith says that he hopes the issue can be discussed very soon.