Briefs: EU Puts Full EBA Withdrawal on Table, Kem Sokha Meets Hun Sen

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Prime Minister Hun Sen and former opposition leader Kem Sokha meet at the funeral of Hun Neng in Kampong Cham province on May 8, 2022. (Kem Sokha’s Facebook page)

The European Union Parliament last Thursday condemned the political persecution faced by Cambodian opposition parties ahead of elections in June and 2023, even suggesting the possibility of a full EBA suspension if the balloting was not free and fair.

The E.U. Parliament passed a resolution on May 5 asking for increased support of political actors, activists and civil society groups in Cambodia who are attempting to “reclaim some amount of political and civic space” in the country. If the upcoming elections were found to be not free and fair, one of the tools suggested by E.U. parliamentarians is a complete revocation of EBA trade privileges.

“They say that the European Commission should be prepared to use all tools available, including a complete suspension of Cambodia’s ‘Everything But Arms’ status and other sanctions, if electoral observers find evidence of unfair elections,” reads the resolution, referring to concerns raised by members of the E.U. Parliament.

The E.U. partially suspended trade privileges on some products exported from Cambodia to the economic bloc in 2020, citing the deterioration of political, human, land and labor rights in the country.

— Compiled by Ananth Baliga

Kem Sokha Meets Hun Sen at Hun Neng Funeral

Former CNRP president Kem Sokha paid his respects to Prime Minister Hun Sen at the funeral of the latter’s brother, Hun Neng.

Hun Neng, a former provincial governor and sitting lawmaker, died last week from heart disease aged 72. Hun Sen and his family have been seen attending the funeral preparations for Neng in Kampong Cham province.

Sokha met Hun Sen on Sunday and was accompanied by two of his lawyers and close aide Meach Sovannara, according to a Facebook post by Meng Sopheary, who represents the former CNRP president in his treason trial. VOD was unable to reach Sokha, his lawyers or aides, but government-aligned Fresh News said the meeting lasted around four hours.

The two leaders last met in public during the funeral ceremony of Hun Sen’s mother-in-law, Bun Seangly, in May 2020. At the time, the meeting led to speculation of a potential political resolution to Sokha’s treason case, which has had more than 30 court hearings so far. 

— Saut Sok Prathna

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