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Royal Quits FUNCINPEC After Calling for Tribunal End

Prince Sisowath Thomico, once the personal secretary to former king Norodom Sihanouk, quit his post as a top adviser in the Funcinpec party Tuesday after calling for the Khmer Rouge tribunal to dissolve.

His calls to cease the tribunal just days before the arrest of Khmer Rouge commander Nuon Chea may have embarrassed the party, he said in his resignation.

Funcinpec Secretary-General Nhiek Bun Chhay told VOA Khmer that Thomico's request to Prime Minister Hun Sen that the tribunal be stopped was contrary to national policy and Funcinpec's official position.

"We want to prosecute Khmer Rouge leaders," he said.

Funcinpec, the government coalition partner, has seen its popularity flag over the past year, following a break-up involving its former head, Prince Norodom Ranariddh. Ranariddh has been found guilty on charges related to embezzlement, but leads his eponymous splinter party from abroad.