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Hun Sen Asks UN Envoy To Mediate Political Talks

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, left, shakes hands with Surya Subedi, right, U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in Cambodia, before their meeting at Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. Subedi on Wednesday met Hun Sen concluding his 5-day mission to Cambodia, Jan. 12-16, 2014. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
Prime Minster Hun Sen on Wednesday called for the UN’s special human rights envoy to be a mediator in political negotiations between the ruling and opposition parties, a senior official said.

The envoy, Surya Subedi, arrived Wednesday in the wake of violent crackdowns on opposition and labor protesters.

Om Yentieng, head of the government’s Human Rights Committee, told reporters following a meeting with Subedi Wednesday that the premier would like him to help end the political impasse.

Opposition members refuse to join in the new government, claiming the Cambodia National Rescue Party lost July’s election to fraud and irregularities.

Opposition supporters have made numerous protests, calling for Hun Sen to step down and for a recall vote to be held, in one of the greatest challenges to his authority in more than a decade.

“To end the political deadlock, we should join in a National Assembly meeting together,” Om Yentieng told reporters.

Rescue Party President Sam Rainsy said Wednesday he would welcome Subedi as a mediator, but his members will not join the National Assembly. The opposition is calling for reform of the National Election Committee and for a recall vote, he said. Then the party will consider joining the government, he said.