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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - King, army chief give stern warnings to opposition

King, army chief give stern warnings to opposition

RCAF Chief of General Staff Ke Kim Yan said the army would protect the results of

July's election in a statement published Friday afternoon.

A simultaneous statement from King Norodom Sihanouk signaled to Prince Ranariddh

and Sam Rainsy that the CPP's patience had reached its limit.

Sihanouk told Ranariddh and Rainsy that if they or their elected party members failed

to attend the National Assembly by Sept 24 the government would recognize neither

their legitimacy nor their parliamentary immunity.

"So if anyone encounters danger or [an] unpredictable occurrence, I will not

be able to help," Sihanouk said.

The King's Sept 10 statement which appealed to police forces not to shoot Khmer citizens

had provoked the CPP's wrath, said one Palace source. "At worst," the source

said, "the King is [now] saying get your MP status and continue with your protests..."

Ke Kim Yan said that the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) would protect the results

of the July elections. Kim Yan said the elections were free and fair; that the RCAF

condemns racism by the opposition which was creating anarchy; and that the protests

"aimed at toppling all the top institutions would bring the nation into holocaust".

"I issued the statement after I saw that there were more and more illegal demonstrations

which made the situation worse," Ke Kim Yan told the Post. "With this complicated

situation the people of Phnom Penh are more frightened...

"I request the parties who got seats at the National Assembly to join the meeting

of the Assembly. This is partly the role of the General Staff," Kim Yan said.

Ke Kim Yan's words seemed a signal to protesters that they could face overwhelming

firepower if they continue what is outright provocation toward the CPP. Hun Sen's

special forces now being used for street control, however, have yet to reach breaking

point, analysts said.

UN special representative Lakhan Mehrotra - whose own five-point peace plan was designed

to reinforce the King's initiatives - said the King's statement was not a warning,

but a "genuine piece of Royal advice".

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