F ORMER Khmer Rouge chief Ieng Sary and his military commander have appealed for the
Prime Ministers to meet under the mediation of King Norodom Sihanouk in Beijing.
Following the factional fighting which wracked Phnom Penh, Ieng Sary and Ee Chhean
issued statements urging an end to bloodshed through negotiation and compromise.
The statements provided the first sign of the position of the former KR of Pailin
and Phnom Malai - united under Ieng Sary's Democratic National United Movement (DNUM)
- toward the Funcinpec-CPP confrontation.
Sary said that DNUM "appeals to all political parties, all organizations...to
please hold a round-table meeting under the presidency of King Sihanouk or his representative
to find any resolution in this conflict".
Ee Chhean, a former KR divisional commander and effectively the governor of Pailin,
urged the Prime Ministers to agree to negotiations led by the King.
"We beg the two Prime Ministers and the president of the National Assembly to
go to meet the King in Beijing for peace talks," Chhean said in a statement,
supporting a July 6 call by the King for the three top leaders to agree to negotiations.
Chhean also called for the government's joint committee on abnormal conflict resolution
to meet urgently "to take adequate measures for the return of the normal situation
in our country".
He also threw his support behind calls for the signatories of the 1991 Paris peace
agreements to take action likely to defuse the crisis.
"In order to contain the present clash which will bring irreversible devastation
to our country, DNUM actually appeals to our compatriots to be calm and quiet and
raise more loudly your voices to ask the two opposing armed forces to stop immediately
their struggle and instead hold their hands together for the sake of peace and solidarity
of our country," Chhean's July 6 statement said.
"In the face of such a situation, the DNUM cannot afford to stay quiet. We will
do our utmost to persuade all parties to concentrate on solving all difficulties
through peaceful talks."
Neither Ieng Sary or Ee Chhean made any direct reference to whether they were prepared
to use force to support either of Cambodia's government factions. In May, Ieng Sary
publicly said his forces were prepared to use guns to enforce next year's national
election result if the loser refused to give up power, in what was widely interpreted
as a threat to CPP.