Dissident leader sets up Cambodia 'government-in-exile'

Khmer National Liberation Front - which PM calls 'extremist group' - says new 56-member gov't based on Paris Peace Accords

Dissident leader sets up Cambodia 'government-in-exile'

World Bulletin / News Desk

The leader of a dissident group has announced the establishment of a “Khmer National Government-in-exile,” headquartered in Denmark, and urged the UN to suspend Cambodia’s seat.

In a declaration disseminated late Monday, Serey Sam, leader of the outlawed Khmer National Liberation Front (KNLF), said the new 56-member government’s formation was based on the 25-year-old Paris Peace Accords and the constitution that was drafted thereafter.

In addition to announcing a new flag -- which features the iconic Angkor Wat -- the manifesto also said the exiled government consists of “members of KNLF, KNCC [Khmer National Constitutional Congress], opposition politicians and five opposition parties, Cambodian communities affected by forced eviction and land grabs, [the] Khmer Krom community and Cambodian community diaspora around the world.”

Some of these members, such as its new immigration minister, are already in prison in Cambodia.

Others are currently living abroad in countries that include Thailand, the United States and Australia.

The declaration also said the aim is to see that the accords are fully implemented, and that the exiled government hopes “the international community, the United Nations and signatory countries to put pressure over Vietnam and Hun Sen's regime to respect human rights, to respect the Paris Peace Agreement and release all political prisoners in Cambodia.”

Yim Sovann, spokesman for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), told Anadolu Agency on Monday that he didn’t want to comment on the new government-in-exile.

He firmly denied any CNRP involvement in its establishment.

“Anybody who wants to continue the political struggle must go into the country and go to the Ministry of Interior to register as a political party and compete in the election,” he said.

Interior Minister spokesman Gen. Khieu Sopheak said that the new exiled government existed “out of the law” and said he would not comment further.

The KNLF was set up in 2012 and accuses Cambodia of being beholden to Vietnam in a neo-colonial sense.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen calls the KNLF a extremist group.

A number of members have been jailed on a range of accusations, from plotting to overthrow the government to planting explosives along the Thai border.

Last Mod: 24 Ekim 2016, 16:24
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