Saturday, October 13, 2007

Cambodian PM breaks off connection with Prince Ranariddh

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced he would cut off connection with Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who is still in self-imposed exile abroad, local media reported Tuesday.

"We have closed the door. I told him the choice, which is the way to come back, but he refused. So, I stopped talking to him. Hun Sen will not help.. if you send a letter, I will return it," Hun Sen was quoted by the Cambodia Daily newspaper as saying.

The premier also told the prince's subordinates not to try to seek any help for him to be able to return to Cambodia, reasoning that the prince has made too many requests in regards to his return, the Rasmei Kampuchea newspaper said.

However, Norodom Ranariddh Party (NRP) spokesman Muth Chantha, denied NRP has been begging Hun Sen for help on behalf of their leader, adding that the way for the prince to return is not through Hun Sen and that only King Norodom Sihamoni could help the prince, according to the Khmer-language newspaper.

"We must respect the constitution and the King. The King can grant a pardon-not the prime minister," he was quoted by the Cambodia Daily as saying.

However, Funcinpec spokesman Nouv Sovatharo said that the prince still has an opportunity to return if he chooses Funcinpec to help him, the Cambodia Daily said.

Earlier this year, Ranariddh, son of Sihanouk, was sentenced to 18 months in jail in absentia by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court over corruption charges filed by Funcinpec. Before the verdict was made, the prince left Cambodia and has stayed overseas ever since.

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