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Cambodian Political Leaders to Hold Talks Following Rise in Tensions

Sam Rainsy, leader of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), delivers a speech from a vehicle upon his arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport in Phnom Penh, July 19, 2014.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy have announced plans to talk Tuesday in an effort to break the country's year-long political stalemate.

The ruling Cambodian People's Party and the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party have released a joint statement saying the two men will meet in the upper house of parliament.

This will be the first time the two have met face to face since September.

The opposition has boycotted the government since July 2013 elections, claiming they were marred by fraud.

Yem Ponhearith, lawmaker-elect and spokesman for the opposition party, said in an interview with VOA's Khmer service Monday that the CNRP was hopeful of a breakthrough.

“We believe the talk could find a package of solution to break through the deadlock. The main point we want is to reform National Election Committee, reform election procedures because it is the root of all these issues,” he said.

News of the meeting follows the arrest of eight opposition members, including seven who were elected to parliament last year.

They are charged with insurrection and incitement in the wake of violent clashes between protesters and authorities last week.

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