Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday warned the United States to not interfere in the upcoming national election over the arrest of opposition CNRP leader Kem Sokha.
Speaking to 14,000 garment workers in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, Mr Hun Sen said that the US would regret any actions it took against his government or the election over the jailing of Mr Sokha on treason charges.
“If you react to the arrest and interfere in our internal affairs or upcoming election, it will only kill liberal, multi-party democracy,” he said. “You will be mistaken and will regret your actions.”
“We are committed to continue liberal, multi- party democracy,” he added.
Senate elections are set for February and the national election for July.
Mr Sokha is being held on charges of conspiracy to commit regime change and has been sent to Trapaing Phlong prison in Thbong Khmum province.
His arrest came after a video footage from Australia-based CBN news was posted on Facebook, appearing to show Mr Sokha saying the US government had been helping him to push for regime change in Cambodia since 1993.
Mr Hun Sen added yesterday that the US pretended to love Cambodia and its Khmer citizens.
“This is a small message that I’m sending to you,” he said. “Please stop pretending to love Khmers more than Khmers love each other.”
“You have pretended to love Khmer, but you killed hundreds of thousands of Khmer people,” Mr Hun Sen added.
US embassy spokesman David Josar declined to comment.
The Prime Minister also yesterday dared anyone to place bets with him over the dissolution of the CNRP, offering odds of one to 100.
The Interior Ministry filed a request to the Supreme Court to have the CNRP dissolved following complaints lodged against it by the Funcinpec party and the Cambodian Youth Party in the wake of Mr Sokha’s arrest.
A hearing date has been set for Thursday of next week and Mr Hun Sen earlier said he would bet his life on the party being dissolved.
“Now, I say let’s bet that it is dissolved,” he said yesterday. “You can bet just one riel with me and I will pay you 100 riel if the party is not dissolved.”
CNRP lawmakers signed a statement yesterday demanding the release of Mr Sokha and other political prisoners.
“We won’t betray the will of the people,” it said.
“We have faith the political situation will return to normal if there is pressure from the international community.”