F IRST Premier Prince Norodom Ranariddh said his Royal Government is still
keeping the door open to the Khmer Rouge for talks, but at the same time it
would also continue its military pressure in a bid to weaken the Maoist
Prince Ranariddh was speaking at a business seminar held for
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and businessmen on April 15, before
reports emerged that the government was losing its grip on Pailin.
acknowledged that the KR remained a question worrying many foreigners who are
seeking opportunity to invest capital in Cambodia.
He said "Let me
address this issue frankly and candidly with you. We are trying to resolve the
Khmer Rouge issue with a two-pronged strategy."
"One, is to continue to
leave the door open for talks to bring about a national reconciliation on the
basis of the plan suggested by His Majesty the King and two, to weaken them
The prime minister told the businessmen the political
situation in Cambodia had changed a lot since the capture of the KR headquarters
at Pailin a month ago. He said: "...They are much weaker today and do not
represent a threat to our stability."
The Prince added "The political
risk for your investment is minimal, if any, compared to the potential return on
Speaking on condition of anonymity a KR official
reacted with laughter at Prince Ranariddh's statement.
He said: "Using
military means to press us to the negotiating table is never effective. For many
years, though they tried, the Vietnamese forces never succeeded in managing to
"And don't mention about the current strength of the
government troops, just wait and see if we are now weaker than before or
"The most appropriate solution to the problem is peaceful means, not
the military one, which only delays or worsens the situation.
government is very happy with victory when they captured Pailin, but those who
died never enjoy any fruit of that victory."
The KR spokesman claimed the
guerrillas had retaken Sala Krau, 12 km north of Pailin.