Cambodian request results in ban on Rainsy IPU speech

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Sam Rainsy’s invitation to deliver a speech at the 141st Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in the Serbian capital of Belgrade this week was revoked after a request from the Cambodian delegation. SAM RAINSY VIA FACEBOOK

Sam Rainsy’s invitation to deliver a speech at the 141st Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in the Serbian capital of Belgrade this week was revoked after a request from the Cambodian delegation.

Rainsy’s name was removed from the list of those who were due to speak at the IPU Assembly from Monday to Thursday after a request was made to the global inter-parliamentary institution and the Serbian National Assembly by the head of the Cambodian delegation.

On Monday, Khuon Sudary, the second deputy president of the Cambodian National Assembly who led the Cambodian delegation to Serbia, sent letters to Maja Gojkovic, the president of the Serbian National Assembly, and IPU president Gabriela Cuevas Barron.

The letters called for Rainsy, who had been expected to speak at the assembly, to be banned from taking the floor as it would be “against the rules, principles and spirit of the IPU”.

“Sam Rainsy has been convicted by the courts of Cambodia in several cases, including for insulting His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni and plotting a coup d’etat against the legitimate government of Cambodia, one born through democratic elections with a turnout of 83 per cent in 2018.

“[Rainsy] has also appealed to the armed forces to revolt against the legitimate government, which is a threat to the hard-won security and stability of Cambodia,” the letters said.

Sudary also said that with Rainsy’s violations of the Cambodian Constitution, his presence at the assembly would damage belief and trust in the IPU, as well as affect its legality.

Rainsy, the “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), did not respond to The Post’s request for comment on Thursday.

However, he claimed on Monday that he had met with liberal parliamentarians from various countries at the assembly.

Rainsy said he had told the lawmakers that the former CNRP had received 45 per cent of the votes and had been gaining popularity until ruling party dissolved the opposition so it could get all the votes. This, he said, followed the communist single-party system.

To respect the will of the majority of the Cambodian people who wanted democracy and freedom, Rainsy claimed he had only one last option, which is to return to the Kingdom across the Thai border with a large number of migrant workers accompanying him.

“The current prime minister [Hun Sen] threatens to kill me, saying that he will shoot any plane that I am aboard or use machine guns to shoot me and my supporters.

“I want to enter Cambodia through Thailand as this country has two million Cambodian migrant workers and most of them will join me to cross the border into Cambodia,” Rainsy claimed, adding that he wanted to see the release of all CNRP activists, the reinstatement of the legitimate opposition and fresh elections.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said Rainsy needed to instead ask God for help as the government would arrest him and take legal action if he tried to use force to stage a coup. The government would destroy any such attempt.

“[Foreigners] will not put Sam Rainsy first. They will put the legitimate government first. Any country that backs Sam Rainsy is supporting a coup, and this will cause major damage to the reputation of those countries,” he said.

Sudary gave a speech at the 141st IPU Assembly saying that the peace and stability that Cambodia had made such great efforts to achieve now seemed fragile and vulnerable as it faced challenges from extremist politics and demagogic politicians.

It also faced interference in its domestic affairs from world powers, including some Western countries.

“Although our country is under pressure with threats to impose sanctions through the pretext of democracy and human rights, the Royal Government of Cambodia stays with the Cambodian people in all circumstances,” she said.

The IPU has 179 member countries and helps facilitate the diplomatic tasks of national assemblies, as well as empower parliamentarians to promote peace, democracy and sustainable development.