PHNOM PENH —
Prime Minister Hun Sen has claimed that members of the country’s banned opposition party have sent letters to his office requesting they be allowed to return to politics.
At a ceremony at a pagoda in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, Hun Sen said the authors of the letters, whom he did not name, had had their requests turned down.
He quoted the letter as saying that some of the 118 Cambodia National Rescue Party politicians banned from politics for five years after the party was dissolved in November had asked him for their “rights back”.
He said the CNRP had attempted to overthrow his government and would not be dealt with kindly as a result.
“And I want to tell foreign friends who intended to arrange discussions with his group, I will not do it ever in this life. Please don’t talk with me. I will not accept anything.”
Hun Sen’s speech came after Sam Rainsy, the former CNRP president, wrote on Facebook that he was willing to meet with Hun Sen to broker an end the crisis.
“I am always open to meeting with Hun Sen's government in order to find a peaceful solution to this unprecedented crisis, a solution that would be acceptable to both sides, with international guarantees,” he wrote.
Lao Mong Hay, an independent political analyst, told VOA that opening negotiations would be the best outcome from the crisis.
“Either it is the US or the EU, actually they are helping us. They do not want to impose any economic sanctions. They are demanding us to respect democracy, and the rule of law for whose benefit? Not theirs for sure, but it is for our sake. It was because we did not have rule of law and democracy that we killed each other in the past.”
On Tuesday last week, the EU council and the US pushed for economic sanctions and cut some aid to Cambodia, accusing the Cambodian government of abusing the democratic process.