The pilot who flew Mother Theresa from Phnom Penh to Bangkok last week had an
interesting comment. He describes himself as "a retired Catholic without pension"
but when, to his surprise, the Nobel Prize winner boarded the plane, his first,
comforting, albiet surprising thought was how "the Big Guy upstairs" was
definitely going to guarantee the safety of the flight.
Speaking of interesting comments, the Gecko overheard an interchange between former
U.S. Congressman Stephen Solarz, one of the key architects of the Peace Accords,
and former DK ambassador to Cairo, Im Sopheap. Sort of historic Q & A for Cambodia
Sopheap, in response to Solarz's queries confirmed that the DK respects the results
of the elections but that they were having problems with the way the results were
being implemented. Solarz then noted that in America when a new administration comes
to power about 90 percent of the civil servants remain in place. Should all the bureaucrats
be replaced in Cambodia? he asked. Sopheap replied: "I think you know the problem."
Moving on, Solarz wondered if Sopheap thought the DK should come back to power as
they did in '75. A definite "No" on that one. Next, if the DK didn't participate
in the elections then why should they have a role in the new government? Sopheap
replied: "I think you know why we didn't participate in the elections."
Did the DK provoke the invasion of Cambodia by the Vietnamese by any of their policies,
asked the former congressman? Sopheap replied that he thought Solarz knew well what
happened. He said: "We are proud of having defended the nation against the Vietnamese.
The people know this."
Solarz then asked rhetorically whether Sopheap thought that the people might not
want the DK to come back because their regime "was known for such brutality
and you have so much blood on your hands."
Solarz's final question was answered by Sopheap walking away: "Do you sleep
well at night?"
FUNCINPEC sources have confirmed to the Gecko that a recent meeting between Cambodia
Times owner Dr. Chen and Prince Ranariddh included an offer of a gift of $1 million
in cash in a suitcase by Dr. Chen to the Prince for no specified reason. The Prince
The Gecko hears that crack reporter Nate Thayer, back in town after a three-month
sojourn abroad, feels out of touch. He asks that all cocktail party planners please
put him on their invite lists so he can "work the circuit and meet new and interesting