Hun Sen: No one negotiates better than me


March 29, 2018

Hun Sen: No one negotiates better than me

by Ben Sokhean and Quinn Libson

https://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/hun-sen-no-one-negotiates-better-me-history-world-leaders

Ben Sokhean, Quinn Libson and Political Analyst Meas Nee would be well advised to read Astrid Noren-Nilsson’s Cambodia’s Second Kingdom: Nation, Imagination and Democracy for a proper understanding of H.E.Cambodian Prime Minister  Samdech Techo Hun Sen’s political philosophy, his trials and tribulations, his achievements since he took control of the country in 1998, and Cambodia’s contested history since Independence in 1953. Samdech Techo Hun Sen puts democracy building in an explicitly developmental context. For the Cambodian Premier, it is peace, stability and development first. –Din Merican

Prime Minister prepares to speak at a gathering of garment workers in the capital on Wednesday. Facebook

In a boast reminiscent of US President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Hun Sen went on a tangent on Wednesday before thousands of garment workers in Por Sen Chey district extolling his negotiating prowess, calling himself one of the top negotiators in the “history of world leaders”, while reiterating that he would not actually be engaging in any such negotiations with the opposition.

The premier emphasised the role he played in negotiating with former members of the Khmer Rouge, saying “Hun Sen’s presence [at negotiations] helped to solve the problems with the soldiers”. He also posited that the job of negotiator, in some ways, is even harder than the role of a soldier on a battlefield, explaining that in battle, the lower-ranked soldiers are the ones in the line of fire, while in negotiation, it’s the high-ranking combatants – like Hun Sen – who are the ones who see the action.

“There is no one using negotiation opportunities better than me in the history of world leaders,” the prime minister told the workers, adding that he had also been carrying out negotiations for longer than any other current leaders.

Political analyst Meas Nee, however, challenged the validity of Hun Sen’s boasts, saying such talks should not just result in a “winner and loser”.

“The negotiator is a person who enables the involved parties to work with one another and solve the problem,” Nee said. “If we look at the current political crisis in Cambodia, if the leader is good, the political crisis would not be stuck in the deadlock it is today, and I think that it would be solved already.”

Image result for Hun Sen and Samy Rainsy

Despite Hun Sen’s claim that his negotiation skills rival all others, the premier is maintaining his position that he will not entertain the possibility of talks with former members of the forcibly dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party, which had previously been the only legitimate challenger to Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party in this July’s national elections. On Monday, Hun Sen insisted that there would be no pardons for jailed opposition figures or talks with the CNRP.

CPP spokesman Sok Eysan pinned the blame for the lack of compromise on former opposition leader Sam Rainsy, maintaining that Hun Sen is trying to “build a culture of dialogue” with the result that “all Cambodian people are happy and welcome”. Rainsy has been out of the country since 2015, fleeing a host of politically tinged convictions against him, including some in cases levelled by the premier himself.

“The convict Sam Rainsy is the one trying to destroy the culture of dialogue until it’s dead,” Eysan said.

Responding to Wednesday’s speech, Rainsy had a message for the Premier: “[B]eing really effective in negotiations aimed at peacefully resolving national issues requires at least two fundamental skills: intelligence, which he seems to demonstrate, and courage, which he has yet to show.”

“Hun Sen seems to be only guided by fear in his continuous refusal to engage in any negotiation with the CNRP, the only credible opposition party.”

 

This article previously said Prime Minister Hun Sen’s speech was given on Tuesday March 27. In fact it was given on Wednesday March 28. This has  been amended. 

2 thoughts on “Hun Sen: No one negotiates better than me

  1. No nation or group of nations have the right or moral high ground to label any other nation as problematic and suggest how those problems should be overcome. If certain parties had respected the independence and neutrality of Cambodia under Norodom Sihanouk that country would have been spared the tragedies – the massive deaths by superpower bombing and the appalling revenge killings by Pol Pot. To those who once destroyed this once peaceful country, spare us your crocodile tears and let the present peace and developmental efforts of Cambodia go on without further external interference.
    _________________
    Thanks, Icrenoir, for your comment, which I agree. The days when Cambodia could be bullied, hectored and lectured are over. The Kingdom has made rapid strides over the last 20 years under Hun Sen’s strong leadership. On Foreign policy, the Prime Minister is building smart partnerships with China,Japan, South Korea for investments in infrastructure. His emphasis on human resource development and administrative reform will make Cambodia a preferred location for foreign direct investment while its membership in ASEAN is giving the country a voice in international affairs. Economic growth for the last 20 years is in excess of 7 per cent p.a.in real GDP terms and the outlook for 2018 is good.

    Only the US and the EU are bloody minded by insisting on imposing their values here. They have not learned from the lessons of the Vietnam War and the Cambodian Conflict and the Khmer Rouge reign of terror.They should leave the Cambodians alone, if they cannot help, to pursue their dream. The smart Cambodians know what they want–peace, stability and development.–Din Merican

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