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His Majesty on KR, graft

The following are extracts from Nate Thayer's June 11 interview with King

Norodom Sihanouk in Beijing.

On the Khmer Rouge

The best

bomb to kill the Khmer rouge is the economic and social development, that is

what they should do but since they took power they have thought mainly of going

to war with the Khmer Rouge. I don't criticize them. I stress I support them

because I am the King. They elected me as King and I accepted to be their King.

They are my government. The government of His Majesty. How can I be against

them? Some of them said confidentially to other people that Sihanouk is pro-

Khmer Rouge. I am not pro- Khmer Rouge. You know they have killed five children

of mine, 14 grandchildren of mine. And so many innocent people among the little

people. I called those people my children, my grandchildren. I loved them as my

true children. How can I give my pardon to the Khmer Rouge? But we have to be

realistic....we have to accept to have talks with the Khmer Rouge since we have

no means to wipe them out. That is all. It is just realism and patriotism....We

must make a distinction between two things: one the realism we should have for

the present time and the future about the problem of peace and national

reconciliation and on the other hand we cannot forget the crimes committed

between April 1975 and the end of 1978 by Pol Pot and his

government.

On corruption

 

We have to put an end to corruption. I will tell all those personalities 'you

are very rich. I will not touch you. You will keep all your wealth. There will

be no inquiries at all.' You know what they fear the most from Sihanouk is

inquiry and criticism.. I will tell them that these rich men can stay in

Cambodia. They do not need to run away....and as far as the many generals I will

keep them, but I will tell them, 'please, you can stay as generals with all your

beautiful uniforms and stars, but please, allow me to have besides that another

army '.

On the RCAF and foreign policy

I will not need new

weaponry because we will remake my policy as in the 50s and 60s. We can have a

small and very professional and disciplined army.

But we do not need really an army because we will make a policy of peace.

We will use only peaceful means vis-a-vis Thailand and vis-a-vis Vietnam. I

will not use my army against anybody and since the Khmer Rouge will be in the

government there will be no civil war.

On conditions for returning to

power.

I want my power from the Parliament. I will maintain the

liberty of the press. The freedom of the press. All the liberties for my people!

for the press! for the journalists! they can criticize me! But I will not let

them have a pretext to condemn me as a dictator or a putchist. I will not be a

putchist. Because I will accept power on the condition that the Parliament will

give it to me and I will return to Cambodia only if Mr. Hun Sen's party joins

me.

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