Diplomats in Cambodia stream to visit Sokha
Niem Chheng The Phnom Penh Post Tue, May 12, 2020
Kem Sokha meets French ambassador Eva Nguyen Binh at his residence in the capital’s Tuol Kork district on Tuesday. Photo supplied
PHNOM PENH – After meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen last week, former opposition leader Kem Sokha has been receiving visits and messages from ambassadors from Western countries over the past two days.
The latest visit was from French ambassador Eva Nguyen-Binh on Tuesday at Sokha’s residence in the capital’s Tuol Kork district.
On Monday, Sokha met German ambassador Christian Berger and EU ambassador to Cambodia Carmen Moreno. None of the ambassadors responded to The Post’s queries as of Tuesday.
On Monday, Sokha said on his Facebook page that Berger applauded their meeting and regarded it as “positive”.
He said they talked about the Cambodian people’s fight against Covid-19 and future situations.
It is not known what Hun Sen and Sokha discussed at their May 5 meeting, but Sokha’s cabinet chief Muth Chantha said their discussion touched on the interests of the nation and its people.
One of Sokha’s defence lawyers, Chan Chen, who was present at the meeting, declined to reveal what Hun Sen and Sokha discussed.
He said the meeting between the Cambodian politicians “is what the Cambodian and international community wants to see happen”.
Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute director Kin Phea said on Tuesday that the visits by foreign diplomats reflect their support for the Hun Sen-Sokha meeting.
Phea said they wanted to see Cambodian politicians show that they can compromise and solve problems through negotiation. He said the public seemed to appreciate the meeting as well.
But he warned that the foreign ambassadors’ visits to Sokha could also cause negative reactions.
“If they met him with a political agenda which can be interpreted as interfering with Cambodia’s affairs, then it could change the situation from good be bad.
“We have to bear in mind that Kem Sokha has been charged with treason or conspiracy with a foreign power. If the visits can be seen as conspiring or have a hidden agenda, it would be hard to come to a compromise after [Sokha’s] court case is over,” Phea said.