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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - 'He created the war and lost the war'

'He created the war and lost the war'

Excerpts from an interview of Samdech Hun Sen by a group of foreign journalists,

at his Tahkmau residence, July 19.

His July 19 meeting with Asean Foreign Ministers

I told [Ali Alatas] that the ball is with you and if you pass it on to others to

kick, it's up to you. So far as Asean is concerned we did not ask Asean to play any

role in this situation. I stressed to him [that] from 1991-93 we used to hold the

Paris Agreements as the principle. From 93 to now we use our Constitution as the


I also told them that we have four tasks in the coming time.

First related to the stability of the situation ... political stability will be very

important. The other is macroeconomic stability.

The second task is to observe and carry out the achievements of the Paris Agreements

and from the 93 election. That means that we would maintain as before the Constitution,

the Kingdom, the institution of the King, of the National Assembly, of the government

and the policy of the government.

The third task is to keep the continuity of all the institutions ... the National

Assembly would be reconvened on 28 July. As well, the government has to continue

to make arrangements [that] will reflect the sharing of power of the election.

The fourth task for [the] government is to streamline our [preparations for the]

23 May, 1998 election.

The looting, and the task of restoring business confidence

This is the important point for us. In keeping the stability of the macro economy,

curbing inflation and keeping economic growth at 7% ... I can say for sure now that

there will not be any more fighting except in Anlong Veng ... I request you not to

make any investment in the vicinity of Anlong Veng. Build hotels in Phnom Penh, Siem

Reap or ...

We also take into consideration losses of foreign companies, based on the spirit

of responsibility and on the agreement of protection of foreign investment. We have

to think about compensation. The government set up a committee making assessments

of losses that occurred to foreign and domestic companies...

So far we do not have an exact figure. It seems there were more losses to the domestic

than foreign companies.

One company wrote a letter to me [saying that] their loss is around $2 million. Another

domestic company lost about half a million. We have to review it thoroughly.

We are waiting to see the estimate made by Dumez of France and Malaysia regarding

destruction at Pochen-tong. The damage at Pochentong is not so much on material [than]

on service and we have to include that in the loss also.

Domestic companies have been affected more than foreign companies and it is estimated

close to $10 million. The most serious one is the company selling motorcycles. The

people who looted motorcycles just sold it at price of $50.

Foreign aid

Some countries already decided to cease their aid to Cambodia: not only the freezing

of assistance, but lately there was a drop of tax revenues and this is my concern.

Four countries, like France, Germany, Australia who provide assistance did not say

they would cut aid to Cambodia.

The Japanese ambassador came to tell me the Japanese are not cutting assistance,

it's just that Japanese technicians left the country and will return soon. The technicians

will work with TVK, they did not leave the country. The ambassador froze assistance

for one month.

Even if America will freeze assistance longer than [one month] it will not affect

the macroeconomics of Cambodia. The point that is greatly affected is freedom. The

assistance is through a foundation for freedom of expression helping especially the

opposition newspapers. If such assistance is frozen it will affect the freedom of

the people.

So I hope the American friends will reconsider what will happen here. The big project

assisted by Americans is to rebuild Rte 10 from Battambang to Pailin. Even they cannot

build in the rainy season.

The American assistance ... will not affect the stability of our macro economy, but

it could affect the process of democracy and human rights. For example, today you

cannot see the opposition newspapers not because we prevent them. It's because they

have no money.

The King and the Constitution

I can assure this incident in no way affects the continuity of the monarchy...

The case of Ranariddh is related to politics and law, in no way related to the monarch...

In reality it is completely different from the 70s when they dissolved the monarchy

and established a republic. The monarchy is the monarchy of all, not just any one.

... If the King is too ill to return, it would be impossible for Chea Sim to convene

the Constitutional Council. You give assurances not to attempt to change the Constitution

in the absence of the King. It would be nothing to affect the monarchy or any thing

in the Constitution.

Lately we have received people who have ideas that this or that person should become

the Prime Minister and [make] a minor amendment to the Constitution.

Because some of the proposed candidates to be Prime Minister are not Members of Parliament

and a requirement of the Constitution is that the Prime Minister must be a Member

of Parliament.

Finally it is also very good that Funcinpec could find a suitable person who is also

Member of Parliament to become Prime Minster without an amendment to the Constitution.

I have been thinking that in case the King's health is still not good, [it may be]

possible that all members of the Supreme Council of Ministers can fly to Beijing

and the meeting can be held there. Because we have to understand the health of our

King [and] we would like to have all of the institutions in place before the start

of the elections.

Ranariddh's statement that he does not encourage armed resistance

I have to be careful because Ranariddh is sticky. You have to see the reality to

reflect whether this is the good will of Ranariddh or the failure of Ranariddh.

I consider it a word of a person who created the war and lost the war ... I invite

Ranariddh to take a lesson in [military school], we can joke in this way. [Against]10

people educated in France, we can use only one. Pol Pot, Son Sen, Khieu Samphan and

Ranariddh were all educated in France.

... I don't believe there will be any kind of civil war ... We have thousands of

[seized] weapons to be put in the warehouse.

But the question is [whether] the weapons they buried at the border have been excavated

- and weapons from outside.



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