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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Comment: Mouly defends govt's record

Comment: Mouly defends govt's record

T he headline on the front page of the May 20 - June 2 issue of the Phnom Penh

Post, "Govt crisis as military option fails", sent out an intolerably misleading

message to unwary and uniformed readers.

Our setback at Pailin was not

"disastrous" and our "internal weaknesses" were not and are not that serious as

to "threaten" the "Collapse" of the Royal Government of Cambodia as the article

claimed.

The article claimed that both CPP and Funcinpec leadership "shun

peace negotiations and continue the war effort despite their embarrassing

defeats".

The truth is that the Royal Government of Cambodia has never

shunned peace negotiations. With the consent of the Second Prime Minister [Hun

Sen], the First Prime Minister, Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh, went to

Thailand to have secret meetings with the Khmer Rouge leader, Khieu Samphan.

Those negotiations were fruitless.

The military option was forced upon

the government in order for it to prevent the Khmer Rouge from terrorizing our

people, killing, abducting and looting from them, burning their houses and

destroying their other properties, not to mention the Khmer Rouge's wanton

destruction of the country's already dilapidated infrastructure at a time the

government and the Cambodian people were endeavoring to rebuild the devastated

country.

The article rightly reported that the Khmer Rouge were launching

a "full scale offensive" and would be using their "success on the battlefield"

to force the government to accept their demands of inclusion in the government

and army.

This is mere blackmail of the worst kind, killing people and

destroying the country in order to get a share of power. But it should be

reminded that power does not belong to the government in the first place but to

the Cambodian people who elected the present Government at the elections that

the Khmer Rouge boycotted and used violence to disrupt. The government got its

power from the people through a democratic process and not through the use of

force to kill and destroy, as the Khmer Rouge are doing.

It would be

unconstitutional to include the Khmer Rouge in the Government for one thing.

Furthermore to amend our Constitution at this juncture and under the Khmer

Rouge's threat could unravel all the precious gains in democracy, freedom and

human rights the Cambodian people have made. Besides, no nation can let an evil

force, as the Khmer Rouge are, share in its leadership.

The article made

a baseless claim that there was "continuing instability" in Cambodia. The

government has always been in control of the country except remote and

mountainous areas totaling some five per cent of the territory. It has been

stable and the coalition partners have become well united with the two Prime

Ministers and Co-Ministers getting on well with one another.

There are no

bunkers in street corners in Phnom Penh or in the provincial capitals. There was

no curfew except for a very short period in Battambang and Sisophon. There are

no armed guards protecting public buildings or shops. And the value of our

currency has been stable, 2,500-2,600 riel to the dollar. The populace has

remained calm, and was not stocking food during the so-called Khmer Rouge

offensive.

The author of the article was backing his value judgment about

the situation in Cambodia by using a lengthy propaganda piece put out by the

Khmer Rouge claiming to have captured 1,000 tons of ammunition and arms in one

stockpile and a further 2,000 tons in another, and to have "bought important

quantities of ammunition" from the government forces. It is regrettable that the

Phnom Penh Post has now become a mouthpiece of the Khmer Rouge to spread false

rumors in order to create a sense of insecurity among our people. Such false

rumors are doing great harm to our national security, to our economy and to the

livelihood of our people.

I would appreciate it very much if you would

publish this letter.

Yours Sincerely,

- Ieng Mouly, Minister of

Information

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