Amid increasing political tensions, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party has called for a resumption of dialogue with the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.
Yim Sovann, a CNRP spokesman, said on Monday following a meeting with the Kofi Annan Foundation that the only way to end the current impasse was through negotiated talks with senior CPP officials.
“This is the only option we have,” he said. “Only talk and conversation could be used to solve the problems. We are Khmer. If we don’t sit and talk to solve our problems, nobody can help us.”
Since July last year, at least 14 opposition members and supporters have been detained by the authorities on various charges, while opposition deputy leader Kem Sokha remains the subject of an investigation into an alleged affair.
Sam Rainsy, CNRP president, continues to live in self-imposed exile in order to avoid a two-year jail sentence over a defamation case initiated by former Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong.
Sok Eysan, a CPP spokesman, said that the party was open to talks, but any discussion of releasing imprisoned opposition supporters would be off the table.
“They say they want to meet, but what they want is the release of the people who are under the watch of the judiciary. That’s why we always say the courts are independent and we won’t interfere in judicial affairs,” he said.
Sovann, however, said the CNRP did not want to enter talks with the intention of interfering in the courts’ business.