PHNOM PENH (Cambodia Herald) - Opposition leader Sam Rainsy has called on US President Barack Obama to "stay away" from the East Asia summit to be hosted by Prime Minister Hun Sen in November.
In a commentary published in Wednesday's edition of the New York Times, he claimed Hun Sen was "the only Cold War communist leader to survive in power today."
"Barack Obama is in danger of allowing his good offices to be used as part of an attempt to deny Cambodians the opportunity for self-determination," the opposition leader said.
Sam Rainsy added that the summit "should be moved to another country in order to deny Hun Sen the legitimacy he is seeking." Otherwise, "the world’s standard-bearer of democracy, should take Hun Sen at his word and stay away."
The commentary echoed recent remarks by opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua, who claimed Cambodia was ruled by a "communist" government despite the ruling party's moves to embrace free markets and abandon Marxism-Lenism more than 20 years ago.
Sam Rainsy, who is believed to be living in exile in France, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for forgery and uprooting posts along the border with Vietnam.