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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Khmer Rouge Soften Negotiating Stance

Khmer Rouge Soften Negotiating Stance

Under pressure from China during a series of secret meetings in Bangkok last week,

the Khmer Rouge dropped one of its conditions for cooperating with the Cambodian

peace process-the dissolution of the Hun Sen regime.

"We do not ask for the dismantling of the administrative structure of any party,

nor do we ask for the Supreme National Council (SNC) to replace any government,"

Khmer Rouge official Tep Khunnal said on Sept. 7.

But the group still insists on having a greater role in the country's administration,

a demand the Hun Sen regime has rejected, contending it does not conform with the

Paris peace accords.

Tep said his group would cooperate with the accords and begin disarming its troops

if an "Administrative Consultative Body" and consultative committees are


Including representatives of the four factions, these committees would advise the

SNC and UNTAC and monitor the Phnom Penh government's ministries of defense, finance,

foreign affairs, information, and national security.

Under the peace accord the Khmer Rouge signed last October, UNTAC is to control and

supervise the administration of the country in the period before next year's elections.

The Khmer Rouge contend that UNTAC alone cannot provide a neutral political environment

to set the stage for the elections.

"Without the SNC consultative body, UNTAC will unconsciously rely upon the Phnom

Penh government in all fields," Tep said.

Tep said the verification of the withdrawal of Vietnamese forces was no longer a

prerequisite to the Khmer Rouge participating in Phase II of the ceasefire-troop

disarmament and cantonment.

Once the SNC is strengthened and a neutral political environment created, Tep said,

Cambodians would begin turning in Vietnamese troops who have been disguised as civilians.

He said Cambodians have already identified two Vietnamese officers in civilian garb

living in Kompong Cham and several more living in Phnom Penh.
- A.P. contributed to this report.



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