US slams Hun Sen over ‘bellicose’ talk. The Star Online. August 2

This article documents the position of the US towards Cambodia’s election and prime minister Hun Sen.

WASHINGTON: The United States on Thursday hit out at “bellicose” and “provocative” rhetoric by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, after he warned opposition parties not to block his path to power following last weekend’s elections.

The State Department fired a new shot across the outspoken leader’s bows, in its latest strongly worded critique of what it says is a climate of “impunity” in Cambodia.

“We’re deeply concerned by some of the rhetoric that is threatening and provocative in nature,” said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher.

“It’s premature to endorse results that might have been forecast and published by political parties,” he said, after Hun Sen hardened his rhetoric on the post-election situation based on poll results issued by his own supporters.

“Any intimations about the potential use of force should be avoided.”

The statement did not mention Hun Sen by name, but in his daily press briefing Boucher was pressed by reporters and referred to “the prime minister’s bellicose statements.”

He also urged all parties to act responsibly in a sensitive period up until preliminary results are announced on Aug 8.

Hun Sen earlier warned that opposition parties would be making a “big mistake” if they interrupted the transition of government.

Any attempt to establish an alternative centre of power in the wake of his Cambodian People’s Party’s (CPP) overwhelming performance at the polls would be a betrayal of the Cambodian people, he said.

The opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) has called for a tripartite government to be established with elected members from the CPP and the royalist Funcinpec party but on the condition that Hun Sen does not serve as prime minister.

“Don’t talk about three parties, and I would like the opposition party not to act like it was preparing for government instead of the winning party. I am the winner, my party won,” Hun Sen said.

“I recommend to the small opposition party, which has a few seats and wants to form a government, that it is a big mistake. Please see the constitution.

“If I am not prime minister, then it will be a betrayal of the will of the people,” he said.

According to the CPP’s figures, it has won 73 seats, while Funcinpec has garnered 26 and the SRP 24 in the 123-seat national assembly.

According to the preliminary count of the entire countrywide vote by the National Election Committee, the CPP won 47.28%, the SRP 21.89% and Funcinpec 20.75%. –AFP

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