News / Asia

UN Cambodia Envoy Might Mediate Political Talks

The United Nations Special Rapporteur for human rights in Cambodia, Surya Subedi, reads from a document during a news conference in central Phnom Penh, Jan. 16, 2014
The United Nations Special Rapporteur for human rights in Cambodia, Surya Subedi, reads from a document during a news conference in central Phnom Penh, Jan. 16, 2014
Heng ReaksmeySok Khemara
— The U.N.’s special human rights envoy to Cambodia says he would consider mediating political talks between Cambodia’s ruling and opposition parties.

Surya Subedi is in Phnom Penh on a fact-finding mission following the deadly crackdowns on protesting workers this month.

In a meeting between Subedi and Prime Minister Hun Sen Wednesday, the Cambodian leader said he would like Subedi to help end the political deadlock that has been in place since July’s disputed parliamentary elections.

No official request was made for Subedi to mediate discussions, though Subedi said the international community was ready to assist in helping both sides reach a settlement, according to a statement from the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Subedi told reporters Thursday that he would consider the role of mediator if an official request is made.

"If both sides make a request to me or to the United Nations to act as a mediator, then we will consider how serious they are," he said. "And then there are various structures within the United Nations system. That proposal will be considered carefully."

Sam Rainsy, president of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, said Thursday if a request for mediation is made, it should come from both the opposition and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

“If the ruling Cambodian People’s party writes the letter to the U.N., we will do so at the same time," Rainsy said. "If CNRP writes the letter alone, it won’t be enough because the U.N. needs both parties."

The ruling and opposition parties remain at odds over July’s election results, with the opposition refusing to join the government and calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Khmer service.

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