Cam­bo­dia PM warns op­po­si­tion

The Myanmar Times - - World -

CAM­BO­DIA’S strong­man pre­mier vowed yes­ter­day to “elim­i­nate” his op­po­nents if they push ahead with plans for na­tion­wide protests against an on­go­ing govern­ment crack­down that has sparked in­ter­na­tional alarm.

The lat­est rhetoric, some of Prime Min­is­ter Hun Sen’s strong­est in re­cent months, ratch­ets up wors­en­ing po­lit­i­cal ten­sions in the king­dom, which will hold na­tional elec­tions in 2018.

Rights groups have ac­cused lon­grul­ing Prime Min­is­ter Hun Sen’s ad­min­is­tra­tion of ar­rest­ing scores of crit­ics and ty­ing up other op­po­nents in le­gal cases.

The main op­po­si­tion party’s deputy leader Kem Sokha has been holed up for weeks in his of­fice, sleep­ing on a makeshift bed.

He was handed a jail sen­tence ear­lier this month for re­fus­ing to ap­pear in court over an al­leged sex scan­dal pros­e­cu­tion that the op­po­si­tion say is po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated.

His party has threat­ened to hold na­tion­wide demon­stra­tions if moves are made to ar­rest him or if the crack­down con­tin­ues.

“Don’t threaten [me] with demon­stra­tions in ex­change for talks. No way, youngest brother,” Mr Hun Sen said at a uni­ver­sity grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony yes­ter­day in a char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally lengthy speech.

“This is not just a warn­ing. It is more se­ri­ous than a warn­ing be­cause it is an or­der to elim­i­nate those who de­stroy se­cu­rity and so­cial or­der,” he said, adding that for­eign coun­tries had no right to crit­i­cise his ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Last week a group of 36 states – in­clud­ing the Euro­pean Union and the United States – is­sued a joint state­ment say­ing they were “deeply con­cerned” about es­ca­lat­ing po­lit­i­cal ten­sions in Cam­bo­dia.

Mr Hun Sen, a for­mer army com­man­der who de­fected from the Kh­mer Rouge, has dom­i­nated Cam­bo­dian pol­i­tics for the past 31 years.

His ad­min­is­tra­tion claims it has brought much needed peace and sta­bil­ity to a na­tion rav­aged by civil war.

Photo: EPA

Hun Sen has vowed to elim­i­nate his op­po­nents.

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