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King wounded by allegations

Dear Sir,

R ecently, there has been a serious crisis between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the national and international media and also between the Royal Government and associations which are promoting human rights and democracy.

I have wished, and still wish, that this crisis will come to an end with a better understanding on both sides of their respective rights and duties.

But I regret that all I have done and all I do, each year since 1991, each month, each week and even each day to protect human rights and a pluralist democracy, to free all political prisoners and to avoid arrests and imprisonment of journalists, to recognize officially the groups or associations defending human rights and democracy, to eliminate secret jails where people were tortured and assassinated - I regret that everything I have done in this direction has been unjustly ignored and forgotten by a lot of people, groups and associations who have been given my help, my support and my solidarity.

Since 1991, I have been the number one supporter of liberty of the press and a multi-party political system, but some newspapers, some Khmer politicians and foreigners like to slander me, discredit me, criticize me and politically attack me without any justification. For example, I have been accused of being pro-Khmer Rouge or pro-Vietnamese, of always harassing the RGC, of wishing to take power, to violate the constitution, to sweep off political parties and newspapers.

The fact is that when people asked me if I really want to take power and start a royal dictatorship, it harms me very deeply because their question is testimony to the lack of trust they feel as regards myself.

All my life, intellectual honesty, loyalty, and the hatred of corruption have been virtues that I have never stopped cultivating.

As a Constitutional King, I gave my oath one year ago to respect the Constitution of the new Kingdom of Cambodia. This oath I will never violate. As for attempted coups, I am always their enemy number one.

- King Norodom Sihanouk, Sept 28, 1994 (Translated from the French by Fabien Dulphy)



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