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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Premier Hun Sen replies to the King

Premier Hun Sen replies to the King

The Second Prime Minister sent this letter to King Sihanouk in Beijing in

response to the monarch's comments on taking power.

Respected Samdech

Preah Norodom Sihanouk Varman King of Cambodia.

Your Majesty,

First of all, please allow my wife and myself to extend

to Your Majesty and to Samdech Preah Mohesey all our best wishes of good health

and longevity, especially on the occasion of the 58th Birthday Anniversary of

Samdech Preah Mohesey.

May I beg Your Majesty's forgiveness for any

possible inappropriate expressions that might occur in my letter and the

inconveniences it created to Your Majesty while You are on your medical

treatment.

I was forced by the current situation to write this letter

which is intended on the one hand to make clarifications on a number of issues,

and on the other hand to solicit Your Majesty's advice on some issues that I

have to address, namely the solution to be brought to the Khmer Rouge problem

and the issue of conferring the State Power to Your Majesty.

Regarding

the solution to the Khmer Rouge problem, so far some allegations have been made

that my humble person as well as Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh,

especially my humble self, were the obstacles to any accommodation with the

Khmer Rouge, meaning that Hun Sen is the hard-liner opposed to any accommodation

with the Khmer Rouge.

In this regard, I could not really understand,

because I have done nothing but confirming myself to the Constitution which

resulted from the elections. Concerning the Khmer Rouge problem, it is well

known that the Khmer Rouge are opposed to the Paris Agreements, to the

elections, to the Constitution, and to the elected Royal Government.

Now,

they oppose Your Majesty's initiative of national reconciliation starting with

the cease-fire. They even dare to demand that (a new Government be formed which

is tantamount to the dissolution of the legitimate institutions resulting from

the Elections and to nullifying all the efforts jointly exerted by the whole

Cambodian people and the International Community in implementing the Paris

Agreements.)They are continuing this warfare, the assassination of innocent

people, committing untold tragedies to the Nation and to the people and yet the

Khmer Rouge could get away with it and everything was blamed on Ranariddh - Hun

Sen who are only exercising their legal obligations of protecting the

people.

Some people said that the Royal Government refused to accommodate

because it preferred the military option to destroy the Khmer Rouge. In this

regard, allow me to say, Your Majesty, that for the moment, the Royal Government

has no choice. The two rounds of Rounds Table failed because of the Khmer Rouge.

May I also inform Your Majesty that my humble person, Hun Sen, now is a little

bit different from Hun Sen prior to the Paris Agreements and from post-election

Hun Sen: then I had two important options either to continue to fight or to seek

a solution by ways of the Paris Agreements, either not to accept the election

results and to rekindle the flame of war or to accept the election results to

avoid warfare and to create conditions for national reconciliation. But for the

moment, the Khmer Rouge do not leave Samdech Krom Preah and myself with any

option since the Khmer Rouge have decided to opt for warfare against the nation

and the population. There are indeed two other options that (I certainly could

not go along:)

1. To accept the Khmer Rouge demands of dissolving

the National Assembly, the elected Royal Government and to (form a new

government with the Khmer Rouge in it.) (Proceeding this way is equivalent to a

cool coup d'Etat) since even the Constitution will have to be scrapped or

suspended. I have no mandate to go that far, but this is the prerogative of the

National Assembly. But in my capacity as an MP, I will certainly vote against

such a proposal because it (constitutes an outrageous concession tantamount to a

legal coup d'Etat to dissolve the Constitution, to dismantle the national

Assembly and the Royal Government elected by the people.) It is also a big blow

to the achievement of the UN operation in Cambodia just for the sake of

exchanging it with the participation of the genocidal group.

2. For the sake of avoiding combat initiated by the Khmer Rouge's

offensive, the Royal Government was forced to withdraw from the areas where the

Khmer Rouge aim to occupy. Doing so would allow the Khmer Rouge to expand their

control over the territory and the population, and it will not be long before

the Khmer Rouge would control the whole of Cambodia. For me, the above two

options are impossible. But I don't know whether there are any personalities who

can accept the above two mandates. If there are, they should come out to take my

position and carry out these tasks, which is better than to go about fomenting

social unrest.

Your Majesty,

There were times when I did not want

to hear allegations that Hun Sen was the obstacle to accommodation with the

Khmer Rouge, I picked up my pen and wrote my resignation, so as to make way for

the Khmer Rouge easy return. But this act of mine would have resulted in the

disappointment among the population and would provide a good opportunity for

Khmer Rouge genocidal group, pro-Khmer Rouge group, Khmer Rouge sympathizers and

those who use the Khmer Rouge as counter-weight to achieve their objectives, to

be satisfied as they no longer need to destroy the achievement of the Paris

Agreements to come to power illegally.

After having enough said of the

Khmer Rouge problem, may I now turn to the issue of conferring the State Power

to Your Majesty.

On this issue, I prefer not to make any judgment because

I have received two different sets of information. The first one directly from

Your Majesty on the morning of May 18, 1994 when Samdech Chea Sim and myself

accompanied Your Majesty and Samdech Preah Mohesey from the Royal Palace to

Pochentong Airport. Your Majesty mentioned that there are people who accuse me

of wanting to take power. But I am too old, what do I want the power for? And

the Constitution provides that the King reigns but does not govern. Successive

information received also proved that Your Majesty denied the allegations that

Your Majesty wanted to resume power.

Another set of information was that

Your Majesty needs to take direct state power, there was even an attempt to

foment a manifestation in support of the request to confer the power to Your

Majesty. As the first hand information and the relayed one were so different

that I did not pay much attention. But on the evening of June 17, 1994, I was

deeply shaken by the article published in the Far Eastern Economic Review of

June 23, 1994 entitled "Cambodia - Last act" written by Nate Thayer supposedly

and interview with Your Majesty. According to this article, I have become

another obstacle on the way of conferring the power to Your Majesty. I do not

know whether those were words of Your Majesty or whether the author creates the

story himself.

With regard to this issue, whether Your Majesty did say so

or whether the reporter did write so, may I be allowed to submit to Your Majesty

as follow my thought and my feelings.

Whatever the turn of the political

situation and more than half of life, I have always been following Your Majesty.

My decision to go into the maquis on April 14, 1970 would not have been made

then if was not for Your Majesty because then I had many options to choose from:

to be a student, to be a farmer, to be a worker or to be a businessman etc...

Through various situations, whether I hold the position of a Minister, Deputy

Prime Minister or Prime Minister, I always believe that the best way to put an

end to the war was a political solution which would give an opportunity for Your

Majesty to return and to lead the country. I have made it to become a reality.

Your majesty and Samdech Preah Mohesey as well as the Royal Family and the

non-communist resistant forces certainly have not yet been informed of all the

hardships I have gone through in the search for a political solution in

Cambodia. I had to face untold dangers so as to achieve this enormous and

historical task. The influence of leaders of some countries exerted upon me to

seek a red resolution which would have denied the roles to be played by Your

Majesty and the non-communist resistant forces and which I did not accept was

another kind of danger which I would not reveal their names right now but would

mention in the book to be published later on. This brief mention of history does

not mean that I want to take credit for it but just to show Your Majesty of what

I have done for the nation and in following Your Majesty. On June 13, 1994,

Sdech Krom Khun Norodom Sirivudh came to report to me about his trip to Europe.

He also proposed for my consideration the issue of conferring the power to Your

Majesty. To Sdech Krom Khun, I expressed my view that no one has any doubt about

the King who is our Father. The National Assembly had conferred full power and

special power to Your Majesty on June 14, 1993 which Your Majesty was able to

form a Provisional Government which was not at all provided for in the Paris

Agreements and which led us to unite to produce a Constitution to be respected

by everyone. Any change or amendment to the Constitution is of the mandate of

the National Assembly. I further told Sdech Krom Khun that it is not sure that

the National Assembly would support any change of the Constitution. Moreover,

article 17 of the Constitution which mentioned that the King reigns but does not

govern prohibits any change of it. On that occasion, I also shared with Sdech

Krom Khun my worries about the rumor saying that Your Majesty wanted to take

power but Your Majesty always denied this rumor. Where is the truth? Is it a

Khmer Rouge's trick to dismantle the Royal Government and to create a new one by

exploiting Your Majesty's name?

Your Majesty,

I was very shaken

when I read the Review's articles which mentioned that "Sihanouk acknowledged

that his bid for power would be doomed without the acquiescence of Hun Sen and

the CPP. because I do not want to shed blood to fight a secession led by Hun

Sen... unless I have the assurance that Hun Sen and his party will join me in my

government".

This paragraph is very serious vis-a-vis myself because it

implies that a war might break out not by the Khmer Rouge but by my humble

person. Now, a group of people in Phnom Penh who are unscrupulously greedy of

power are using this article to poison the atmosphere going so far as to tell

Thai businessmen not to work with the current Government because it is about to

collapse and to wait to work with the new Government. It is very funny because

the Khmer story is like a kid's game since a press article may be able to

dissolve or to form a Government. This is too simple and the Constitution seems

to be worthless. Everyone is boasting of pro liberal democracy but instead are

violating the nation's Constitution. What do they really want dictatorship or

democracy?

May I take this opportunity to submit to Your Majesty that the

question of dismantling the incumbent Government and creating a new one, of

appointing anyone as Prime Minister, deputy Prime Minister, does not depend on

me but rather on the Constitution and the National Assembly. I can walk out and

let Khieu Samphan walk to replace me if it is allowed by the Constitution, if

there is a support in the National Assembly and if it is necessitated by

national interest. Therefore, there is no need to fear that I might wage a

secessionist war. What I need right now is a truth whether Your Majesty really

wanted to take power as the Prime Minister as it has been published in the

media, so that I might assess according to the real fact.

Your Majesty,

I am very worried by the length of my letter and by its

content. If I did not write and tell Your Majesty the truth and to seek the

truth, confusion would prevail. I know very well that a number of people will

accuse me of arrogance, daring to write a personal letter to His Majesty the

King. But Your Majesty is well aware that I am not a reserved person and not a

"yes-man". Your Majesty used to say that Hun Sen is like Your Majesty.

Specially, during the dinner on May 27, 1994, Your Majesty said that: "Samdech

Hun Sen is not my son but he is like me: unreserved". This is my natural

character of frankness.

I am writing this letter to request Your

Majesty's advice with regard to the above-mentioned issues. As far as the

solution to the Khmer Rouge is concerned, how can I and the Royal Government

address this problem? How to address the rumors surrounding the question of

conferring the power to Your Majesty? I am awaiting Your Majesty's noble advice

for further action.

May I take this opportunity to inform Your Majesty

that this letter has been written not because there is any difference with

Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh. I am indeed very privileged to have been

working for almost one year now with Samdech Krom Preah with full spirit of

solidarity, understanding and good cooperation which are the foundation of

stability and progress of the nation. We are determined to work hand in hand to

bring the country to prosperity.

Finally, May I once again extend to Your

majesty and to Samdech Preah Mohesey all my best wishes of happiness so that the

Cambodian people, Your Majesty's children, grand children and great grand

children may benefit from Your Majesty's protection.

Phnom Penh, June 18,

1994

Signed, Hun Sen

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