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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - King decries Khmer Rouge 'rebirth'

King decries Khmer Rouge 'rebirth'

KING Norodom Sihanouk has issued a warning that the Royal Government's policy of

accommodating Khmer Rouge defectors has backfired dangerously when the rebel movement

should be on its last legs.

In a recent interview with the staff who compile his monthly Royal bulletin, the

King spoke of the benefits and losses for the "strongmen" who are trying

to take advantages of the Khmer Rouge defections.

The King noted that the benefits so far have been "thin", considering that

the Khmer Rouge had earlier been "on death's door and did not have any more


Among the benefits, he noted an increase in peace especially for the people of Banteay

Meanchey province.

Another "benefit" was one that really served the interests of Cambodia's

ruling parties, rather than the country as a whole, wrote the King.

"CPP and Funcinpec (and not Cambodia or the Cambodian people) win a certain

number of party members to numerically reinforce those two big parties and militarily

reinforce their own armies."

By welcoming them with open arms and showering them with "flowers", he

noted, the leaders of the Kingdom have failed to "gain the true control of the

zones under the control of those 'breakaway Khmer Rouge factions'."

And, on behalf of the nation, they have failed to exploit the area's wealth in natural

resources. The riches generated by the gem and timber trade, the King added, should

"belong to the nation, the people, and the state rather than to such or such

men or parties".

While the Maoist guerrilla movement may have lost a lot of their military might,

according to Sihanouk, the former KR have gained leverage as a result of in-fighting

between the co-Prime Ministers and over which of their two parties will win the loyalty

of the defectors.

Elaborating on these losses, the King noted, for one, that the national budget would

have to spend "much more than before" on defense with so many "new"

Khmer Rouge soldiers being integrated into the ranks of the national Royal Cambodian

Armed Forces.

"We went as far as bringing to the wealthy Khmer Rouge of Pailin-Phnom Malai

rice(!), medicines, arms (!!!) and even land mines (!!!!)."

The King then went on about wealthy Khmer Rouge collaborating with certain officials

to capitalise on those natural resources.

The flouting of these riches "makes rich without any doubts individuals and

political parties, but ruins Cambodia," said the King.

Lastly, he noted the "very grave danger" for democracy and the people by

incorporating the Khmer Rouge in the electoral process.

It will only undermine the democratic process and lead to abuses in human rights

in the run-up to the elections, according to the King.

He noted that the presence of ex-KR during the election will only widen the rift

between CPP and Funcinpec and would only worked to the advantage of the two wings

of the Khmer Rouge- DNUM under Ieng Sary as well as the hard-liners under Pol Pot

and Khieu Samphan.

Sihanouk said that the de facto partition of Cambodia remains "without remedies"

because the two Prime Ministers would not dare to touch the autonomous zone of the

Khmer Rouge.

"Their armies would not be in position to force the Khmer Rouge armies to march

in step" and "they (the leaders) need too highly the political aid and

the military support of 'breakaway Khmer Rouge factions' to win the election with

'special means'", explained the King.

"The irony of all of this is that our famous leaders have decided to open their

arms to the Khmer Rouge at the same moment that they (the Khmer Rouge) were already

on death's door, their troops having been abandoned by our people ... and already

convinced of their inevitable imminent death," Sihanouk said.

"They have been brought back to life with fanfare and have been given certificates

of patriotism and even of heroes, " he added. "The dying Khmer Rouge, have

been saved from a certain death, " Sihanouk said.

The King ended his interview by saying that, from now on, the Khmer Rouge are the

real masters of the "politico-military situation in our country and the referees

of the 'matches' between the political parties (DNUM declare besides to be non-aligned)."



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