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Senior US Diplomat Urges ‘Cambodian Solution’ To Political Impasse

U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Scot Marciel speaks during a press conference in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. Scot made his press conference on Monday before wrapping up his two-day official visit to Cambodia. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
A senior US diplomat says Cambodia must find a national solution to its ongoing political deadlock.

Following a two-day visit to Phnom Penh, Scot Marciel, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the US State Department, told reporters he was not in the country “to try to impose any solutions” to the impasse. “But we certainly support any effort to strengthen Cambodia’s democratic process,” he said.

Officials from the ruling and opposition parties are scheduled to meet on Tuesday, in an effort to negotiate a political settlement in the wake of an election the opposition says it lost to fraud and irregularities.

Following his visit, which included talks with political leaders, rights groups and others, Marciel said the US role “is not to give political advice to the government or to the opposition.”

“This has to be solved among Cambodians,” he said.

Members of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party say they will seek governerships in key cities and provinces to act as checks and balances to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

Yim Sovann, a spokesman for the Rescue Party, told VOA Khmer that would include prominent provinces like Kampong Cham, Kandal and Kampong Speu, and would also include the capital, Phnom Penh.

This did not mean the Rescue Party is forming a “coalition” with the CPP, he added.

Chheang Von, a lawmaker for the CPP, said the demands for governor positions were an “abuse of the law.”

If the Rescue Party wants to control Phnom Penh, it should “build its own chair” to sit on and work from in the government-sanctioned protest space of Freedom Park, he said.

However, Hang Puthea, head of the election-monitoring group Nicfec, said the CPP should agree to such demands if there is to be a political resolution between the two sides.