>Sam Rainsy did not meet with Prince Ranariddh (during his visit to France)

> Picture: Sam Rainsy (left) and Prince Ranariddh (right) during the good time.

By Keo Nimol

Radio Free Asia

Translated from Khmer by Socheata

Courtesy of http://ki-media.blogspot.com/

In Cambodia, rumors are circulating that the opposition leader plans to meet with Prince Norodom Ranariddh in France to form a union, however, this rumor was rejected by opposition leader Sam Rainsy.

Keo Nimol (RFA): Hello Your Excellency, I want to ask you about the information circulating that you went to France to meet with Prince Ranariddh, is this true or not?

Sam Rainsy (SR): Not at all, I am rejecting (this information). I have no plan and I have no desire to meet with any politicians visiting from Cambodia during my stay in France. I only met with our compatriots who live overseas, and I only met with government officials and MPs in the countries I am visiting.

RFA: You must have seen the Rasmei Kampuchea newspaper in Cambodia which reported that you plan to meet with Prince Ranariddh to form a political party, in which Prince Ranariddh would be the party president, and you would be the party vice-president, but that you would be the candidate for the premiership. What do you think about this report?

SR: I never thought about this issue, and Rasmei Kampuchea called over the phone to ask me (about this issue), I rejected it, I said that I never entertained such idea, never thought about it at all, and I have no plan, no desire (to meet), and I am rejecting the claim that I can do something with Prince Ranariddh, I don’t have anything (to do with this claim), not at all.”

RFA: What is the importance of your visit overseas?

SR: It’s too meet with MPs in the countries I am visiting, as well as meeting with government officials in friendly countries, donor countries, and meeting with a number of NGOs which can send in election observers to Cambodia. They want to know about the situation in Cambodia, and what they should pay attention on during the election in Cambodia. I raised all the issues (concerning the election), and I asked them to help us, help protect the people’s rights so that the citizens can all vote, and so that there would be no election cheating, like what happened in the past.”

RFA: During this trip, which countries are you visiting?

SR: I went of (France,) Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, and I will travel to Finland by the end of this week. In Finland, I will inaugurate a branch of the SRP, this is the latest SRP branch opened in Finland, the northernmost country in Europe. Mr. Sok Yoeun is living there with his families and several of his relatives. The SRP branch will be located in Helsinki, and Mr. Sok Yoeun will be the party president there. We all remember that Mr. Sok Yoeun was the SRP member who raised the first party sign in Battambang province, but he suffered hardship in 1998 when he was accused of using violence by firing a rocket on the prime minister, at that time, they pursued to arrest him, and he fled to Thailand. Because there was a request to deport him back to Cambodia, Thailand did not take any decision during 5 years long, and he was jailed in Thailand during all those 5 years, it was only in the last 3-4 years that he received political asylum from Finland, and he took along with him about 30 members of his family to live with him in Finland. He opens a new SRP branch in Finland, and I will go to inaugurate this SRP branch on 29 December 2007.

RFA: When will you return back to Cambodia?

SR: I will arrive on 01 January 2008. 2008 is an extremely important year, the general election will take place in July, and there will be a good change in our Cambodia, therefore, I will arrive in Cambodia on 01 January to welcome 2008, the new year, which is extremely important for Cambodia.

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