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EBA, Rainsy on table at CPP meeting

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times Share:
Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead the meeting. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The CPP Central Committee is set to hold an urgent meeting tomorrow on the issue of a possible Everything-but-arms withdrawal and the return of former opposition leader Sam Rainsy.

“There are many issues that will be raised during the meeting, such as investments and the EBA. We will also prepare legal measures to put convicts in handcuffs,” CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said, referring to the arrests of Mr Rainsy and his supporters.

He noted that Mr Rainsy and seven other former CNRP officials were charged with conspiracy to commit treason and incitement.

In March, Phnom Penh Municipal Court issued multiple arrest warrants against Mr Rainsy, Eng Chhai Eang, Mu Sochua, Ou Chanrith, Ho Vann, Long Ry, Men Sothavrin and Tok Vanchan.

“The authorities will focus on the main persons,” Mr Eysan said. “Foreign politicians accompanying them could be sent to immigration police. It doesn’t matter whether they are US or EU lawmakers.”

Mr Rainsy, who is in exile overseas, has vowed to return with other former CNRP members on November 9 in order to push for the reinstatement of the former opposition party, which was dissolved after its former president Kem Sokha was charged with treason in November 2017.

Regarding the EBA, last week the European Commission ended its six-month monitoring period. The monitoring period began in February following perceived democratic setbacks in the Kingdom due to the dissolution of the CNRP by the Supreme Court in 2017.

The EC will spend the next three months drafting conclusions after the government submitted a report detailing efforts made to improve human rights in the Kingdom. If the EC deems the government has failed to make improvements, the EBA could be suspended.

Outgoing EU Ambassador George Edgar earlier this week said a decision over the EBA will be coming in February.

A statement issued from the CPP yesterday said the meeting is to be presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Mr Eysan said more than 800 CPP Central Committee members and government officials will attend.

“Provincial governors, some district governors and important military police and [national] police officers in charge of borders were also invited to attend this meeting,” he said.

Mr Eysan said attendees are required to heed the words of top party officials.

“Those members will come and listen to reports regarding national and international situations,” he said, noting that Mr Hun Sen is expected to deliver a long speech to close the meeting.

Political analyst Em Sovannara yesterday said the meeting is needed in order to rally support among CPP members.

“Mr Hun Sen needs to gather support from his senior members because of the political trends in China, the US and the EU,” Mr Sovannara said. “He needs their support in order to avoid cracks among leaders and strengthen solidarity.”

CPP lawmaker Suos Yara recently said Cambodians need peace and stability, not the return of the CNRP in the political arena.

“[They need] peace, unity, national sovereignty and independence,” Mr Yara said. “As global economy and technology are changing very fast, the Cambodian people need to adapt and adopt new ways of life that support their improved livelihoods.

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