Noodle party gathering is not political: Hun Sen

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times No Comments Share:

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday said the proposed noodle parties to be held across the Kingdom on Sunday will not serve as a chance for political negotiations with supporters of the dissolved CNRP.

Last week, Mr Hun Sen suggested that former opposition supporters eat noodles together with CPP officials in order to show solidarity.

The invitation came after multiple former CNRP officials were questioned last month by the Battambang Provincial Court for allegedly violating a 2017 Supreme Court decision dissolving the CNRP during gatherings at a noodle shop.

The invitation also prompted some critics to believe that the noodle parties would serve to ease political tension between CNRP supporters and local CPP officials.

Former CNRP vice president Eng Chhai Eang on Monday posted a photo of Mr Hun Sen and former opposition leader Sam Rainsy hand-in-hand.

In its caption, Mr Chhai Eang wrote: “If Hun Sen and Sam Rainsy sit and eat noodles together, then the noodle party would signify unity and solidarity. Politicians are never permanent friends or enemies.”

Mr Rainsy, the CNRP’s former leader, on Tuesday told his supporters to eat noodles with their neighbours.

“Please all of you, invite our neighbours to eat Khmer noodles together,” he said. “If they invite us to eat with them, just go ahead happily in brotherhood because we are all Khmer, one large family.”

Speaking during a graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh yesterday, Mr Hun Sen said no political negotiations would ever materialise between the CPP and the dissolved CNRP.

“Please do not use the parties for anything else aside from eating Khmer noodles because some said it was a step toward political negotiations,” he said. “Please do not be confused. It is only for unity of the people who will gather on June 9.”

However, Mr Hun Sen noted that all citizens, including Buddhist monks, should join the parties in order to show love and solidarity.

“Please do not wait until June 9 to eat,” he said. “If you are hungry today, then please eat. And on June 9, we’ll eat again together.”

“Eating Khmer noodles together is a reflection of love and solidarity between property owners and tenants, between factory owners and workers,” Mr Hun Sen said, noting that 23 business establishments will host noodle parties for their workers on Sunday.

He said that Health Minister Mam Bun Heng should prepare the Khmer noodles and monitor the parties in a bid to prevent food poisoning.

“Everyone will blame Hun Sen if poisonings happen,” Mr Hun Sen said. “Please be careful with this issue and each place has to be responsible. The Health Ministry has to monitor.”

Despite Mr Hun Sen’s statement, political analyst Em Sovannara yesterday said the parties will help ease tension between local CPP and CNRP supporters.

“I think it is a good sign that local supporters will unite and ease the tension and violence between both sides,” Mr Sovannara said. “Local supporters are all right, but national level leaders are not willing to unite and conduct political negotiation.”

“The CPP has a strong commitment to put pressure in order to demoralise CNRP supporters,” he added, noting that Mr Hun Sen’s speech highlighted a strong rift among Cambodian politicians. “His speech reflects the rift and that there is no mechanism for reconciliation or political negotiation.”

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