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Opposition Seeks Help of Former Monarch

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy has sent a letter to former king Norodom Sihanouk requesting his help in resolving "serious problems" within and outside of the country.

The continuing border standoff over Preah Vihear temple and an impending deadlock between the ruling party and the opposition over the next administration are both damaging the country, Sam Rainsy told reporters Wednesday.

The former king's past involvement in winning Cambodian ownership of Preah Vihear temple and reputation for reconciliation were both reasons for the request, Sam Rainsy said.

Then-king Sihanouk helped devise a power-sharing deal between the Cambodian People's Party and Funcinpec following a political deadlock after the 1993 elections. He also helped negotiate a coalition between the two governments following elections in 1998 and a CPP putsch in 1997.

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yiep said Wednesday the former monarch will not resolve the problem. It was up to the government to resolve, he said.

If the Sam Rainsy and Human Rights parties do not participate, "it is up to them," he said, but the CPP would continue with the formation of a new government at a swearing-in ceremony Sept. 24.

"We have a government that is able to solve the problem, so we must have confidence in the government," he said.