Prime Minister Hun Sen interrupted a Zoom strategy session by the banned opposition party in Cambodia “to send a clear message to the rebels” that they are being watched – not to seek political reconciliation, state media said in a report Thursday.
The longtime strongman suddenly appeared during a Zoom call that a former senior U.S.-based Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) official was hosting with party members and activists in the capital last week. Cambodian Phnom Penh and Thailand. Hun Sen had the party banned in 2017, forcing many members into exile.
In a 12-minute video of the September 9 call that went viral on social media, Hun Sen criticized the CNRP and its exiled leaders, then told meeting host Zoom Long Ry, who lives in exile in Massachusetts, which “I have listened to and have already come in to listen to several times.
Long Ry, a former MP, told RFA this week that he knew someone he knew had shared a link to the Zoom call with strangers, but didn’t expect to see Hun Sen during the ‘call.
While Long Ry complained about the invasion of privacy, comparing it to a look at “naked people taking a shower”, he also invited to return to discuss the national level in order to resume talks in order to end a four-year political crisis.
Hun Sen, who has ruled the country since 1985 and destroyed several rivals in the past, had none of the talks about reconciliation, according to statements made by state media Derm Ampil.
“Don’t confuse my entry into the Zoom meeting with you the other day as a signal for negotiations,” he said. “I wanted to send a clear message to the rebels that there are Hun Sen people everywhere.”
The CNRP must “stop imagining that the party dissolved by the tribunal will be resurrected, and Hun Sen will pardon, and Hun Sen will open negotiations for a political solution, because he fears the international community,” the prime minister said in remarks. published in a press release. the following day A spokesperson for his ruling Cambodian People’s Party dismissed audio and video clips as elaborate fabrication.
“I hope this interpretation will make it clear to ignorant analysts and those awaiting forgiveness from Hun Sen,” he added.
The Supreme Court of Cambodia dissolved the CNRP in November 2017, two months after the arrest of its president, Kem Sokha, for an alleged plot to overthrow the government. Dozens of supporters of the group have since been jailed, awaiting a tortuous legal process slowed by coronavirus restrictions.
The move came amid a wider crackdown by Hun Sen on the country’s political opposition, independent media and NGOs that drew US sanctions and the suspension of trade privileges with the European Union.
Reported by the Khmer service of RFA. Translated by Sok Ry Sum. Written in English by Paul Eckert.