The Foreign Affairs Ministry on Saturday issued a statement slamming comments condemning the government made by former opposition leader Sam Rainsy on Facebook.
On Friday, Mr Rainsy took to the social media platform to highlight a comment made by Prime Minister Hun Sen threatening to kill and destroy what is left of the dissolved CNRP if the European Union implements economic sanctions on Cambodia over human rights concerns.
“The expected international sanctions are a direct response to Hun Sen’s totalitarian drift,” Mr Rainsy said. “Hun Sen is holding the people and the opposition hostage, meaning he is blackmailing the international community to turn a blind eye to his dictatorship and human rights violations.”
On Saturday, Mr Rainsy also renewed a call for his supporters in the Kingdom to prepare for his return and confront Mr Hun Sen’s government, drawing ire from the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
In a statement, the ministry said Mr Rainsy has repeatedly called on the international community to question the government’s legitimacy, and has urged the armed forces and citizens to revolt.
“The ministry condemns – in the strongest terms – the conduct of the convict Sam Rainsy for his call for mutiny and his perilous statements,” the ministry said.
In the statement, ministry spokesman Ket Sophann said Mr Rainsy is a racist.
“While Mr Rainsy proclaims himself as a hero and martyr for democracy, he should be treated […] as a demagogue, dangerous populist, ultra-nationalist and racist who preaches for national division and regime change by violent means,” Mr Sophann said. “The Royal Government will, by all means, oppose and counter any attempts and third-party intervention to destabilise and ruin the Kingdom and the happiness of people. We will defend our nation at all costs.”
Political analyst Lao Mong Hay yesterday said the ministry’s statement will not deter the former opposition leader.
“It’s just another standard, routine and not so meaningful response to defend the government,” Mr Mong Hay said.
“Any more legal action, as before, can be used by Sam Rainsy to publicise his cause and get more support,” he added. “He looks more and more irrepressible.”
In a Facebook post yesterday, Mr Hun Sen reminded citizens that war and conflict were direct results of incitement and foreign interference.
“We are done with wars and separations. Now we choose peace above all. Peace is the oxygen of life,” Mr Hun Sen said. “May we take good care of peace and prosperity in our nation for the future of the next generation.”