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Funcinpec Welcomes Three NRP Defectors

Funcinpec officials held a ceremony Tuesday to welcome three defectors from the Norodom Ranariddh Party, but whether the prince himself would come back to Cambodia went unspoken.

The ceremony rang in the defections of Prince Sisowath Thomico, Serei Kosal and Ok Socheat.

Funcinpec First Vice President Lu Laysreng said the ceremony was like the return to an old home, claiming rifts between royalists as a reason Funcinpec showed so poorly in local elections earlier this year.

"We would like to put aside the issue of Prince Ranariddh's return or not return," he said. "We are welcoming our relatives who are re-uniting."

Serei Kosal, former NRP deputy secretary, said his defection was not a betrayal of Prince Ranariddh.

"I have only one direction, and that is for Prince Ranariddh to return to Cambodia, to lead the party, [either] doing politics or not doing politics," he said.

Ok Socheat, a former adviser to the prince, said in order for the royalists not to face oblivion, they would have to reunite.

"In order to avoid the dissolution of the monarchy, there should be a unification," he said.