The ruling CPP has condemned an opposition lawmaker’s call for Western countries to impose visa sanctions on Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government.
CNRP vice-president Mu Sochua, who is in exile, gave an interview to the BBC on Friday, arguing for targeted sanctions on Mr Hun Sen’s government and immediate circle.
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan dismissed Ms Sochua’s plea.
“I think the opposition party has a habit of calling for sanctions. It is a political tactic to put pressure on the government but it does not work,” he said.
He added that every democratic country objects and rejects sanctions of any kind and Cambodia is no different.
Government spokesman Phay Siphan echoed Mr Eysan’s comments.
“She is doing this for personal politics not public interest,” Mr Siphan said.
“I don’t believe they will follow her demands because they work with legitimate governments not opposition parties.”
“They won’t abandon a country of 15 million people for the complaints of a small group,” he added.
Ms. Sochua had suggested senior figures in the government should be denied visas to Western countries so they can no long visit their properties overseas or have their children and grandchildren educated there.
“The international community has invested billions of dollars into developing Cambodia and making it into a democratic country, dollars that, if they continue to flow into Cambodia, will give a free ride, another 10 years of Mr Hun Sen. That is not quality aid,” Ms Sochua told the BBC.
She acknowledged that sanctions were not what most countries wanted to hear about, but argued action was now essential to preserve what remains of Cambodian democracy ahead of the next general election in July.
“We have less than 10 months left. The international community has leverage on Mr Hun Sen. The international community has to make it very clear that the next government, if it is not born out of free and fair elections, will not be recognised,” she said.
CNRP leader Kem Sokha was last month charged with treason over comments made in 2013 video footage from Australia-based CBN news, which showed him saying the US government had been helping him to push for regime change in Cambodia since 1993.
Prime Minister Hun has spoken out strongly against any attempts of a color revolution and has vowed to track down and arrest “rebels” attempting to start this in the country.