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U.S. Welcomes Opposition Leaders' Immunities Restoration

The U.S. welcomes the unanimous decision of the National Assembly to restore parliamentary immunities to opposition leader Sam Rainsy, and two other opposition lawmakers, Chea Poch, and Cheam Channy after having stripped them of their immunities for a year.

U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli says in a press release which VOA stringer gets Wednesday that the U.S. welcomes the unanimous decision of the National Assembly to restore immunities to the 3 legislators on 02-28-06, Mr. Sam Rainsy, Mr. Cheam Channy, and Mr. Chea Poch, and that this is a step toward democracy.

He notes that this action occurs after King Sihamoni's pardon and the court stops sentencing opposition leaders at the beginning of February.

Mr. Ereli says that we would like to give some recommendations to the Khmer leaders to work together to solve this problem.

He says that the U.S. is watching the opposition party leaders continue their active roles in political arena.

The national reconciliation between the ruling leaders and the opposition leaders occurs before the consultative groups' meeting Thursday and Friday, while the U.S., the international community, and the human rights organizations express concerns about what they consider to be human rights violation against the opposition party officials' political rights.

The National Assembly restored parliamentary immunities to the three opposition party's lawmakers Tuesday by raising hands.

Local human rights organization Licadho's director, Ms. Pung Chhiv Kek says that this action will lead to the national unity and democracy in the future.

Mr. Mark Storella, U.S. Embassy's Charge d'Affairs in Phnom Penh says that it is a very good day for Cambodian democracy and that he is very glad to see the action taken by the Assembly.