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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - France to Provide Aid for Military

France to Provide Aid for Military

(AP) - France agreed on July 6 to provide military experts to help Cambodia's government

unify the country's factional armed forces in a single national army.

Meanwhile, Madeleine K. Albright, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, declined

to say during a one-day visit to Cambodia whether the United States would provide

any aid and refused to specify under what terms it would be willing to do so.

She insisted, however, that it was essential for foreign governments to help support

the government elected in the U.N.-organized poll held in May. She singled out the

need to fund the police force, which is underpaid and thus largely corrupt.

"We are going to review our assistance," was all Albright would say.

French Defense Minister Francois Leotard signed an agreement with the leaders of

the interim government to provide 10 to 20 military experts in September to advise

on the formation of a unified national army.

Cambodia's new army is to be composed of 130,000 troops from the three main parties

in the election. Two of the parties were allied against the third during Cambodia's

13-year war, which ended with a 1991 peace accord authorizing the U.N. poll.

A fourth faction, the Khmer Rouge, has been invited to turn over to the new government

their fighting force of 10,000 soldiers and the 20 percent of the country it controls.

The guerrilla group has reportedly said it would do so if given a role in the government.

The United States has said it would not provide aid to Cambodia if the Khmer Rouge-which

killed hundreds of thousands of Cambodians when it was in power in the 1970s-were

included in the new government. Albright reaffirmed that position.

She declined to say, however, whether the United States also would withhold aid if

the Khmer Rouge were brought into the new army.

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