On Saturday, July 5 Far Eastern Economic Review correspondent Nate Thayer spoke
to First Prime Minister Norodom Ranariddh, in France, by satellite phone from Siem
Reap. Excerpts from the Prince's comments:
T HIS is a real coup d'etat. Any pretext that they use to overthrow one Prime Minister
installed through UN organized elections, we must call that a coup d'etat.
I have told Hun Sen that I am always willing to talk, but he is not sincere. He says
I have hidden Khmer Rouge forces in the city, but it is a lie, just a pretext. They
have been preparing a coup for a long time. They were very well prepared.
Hun Sen says we are betraying the Constitution by talking to the Khmer Rouge, but
it is a pretext to launch a coup. Hun Sen will ask Funcinpec to surrender, but we
will never surrender. He wants to set up a so-called coalition government without
me. It is not acceptable. A lot of my soldiers will never accept it. It is clearly
a coup and must be condemned by the world community.
I think that there will be fighting everywhere. We have our forces everywhere in
the country and they will not surrender.
If it is a coup it must be complete in 48 hours or the resistance will be organized.
Already we are organizing the resistance. We cannot accept people to be killed. We
have many arms and our army is everywhere. We completely control parts of the country.
I will accept to talk. I will accept a ceasefire but it could not be a unilateral
There is resistance to this coup d'etat. The world community should clearly say any
regime, so-called government installed by a coup, cannot be recognized by the international
community. It must not be.
I cannot return to Phnom Penh like this. Hun Sen will kill me. I will be arrested
but I will go back to my country. We do have some control areas. The real problem
is Thailand. I have asked my people to seek permission from Thailand.
Without the reaction of the world community strongly condemning this coup d'etat,
it will again be a very bloody civil war and more bloody than before because we have
forces everywhere. We cannot, we will not simply surrender. Hun Sen, he underestimated
our forces and overestimated his.
I want to tell you I am willing to go back, but not to Phnom Penh to be killed by
Hun Sen did this because he knew he would lose the elections, and to avoid the condemnation
of the FBI for his involvement in the grenade attack and his involvement in drug
trafficking. He has no choice but to make the coup. It is the only way out for him.
But he is crazy. If you are stable psychologically, you do not do this. He is a very
dangerous, unstable man.
What I wanted to do with the Khmer Rouge through negotiations was to avoid the war,
to bring national reconciliation, but Hun Sen has taken this as a pretext to attack
us. Whether we have a military alliance with the Khmer Rouge or not, we have to watch
carefully what the Khmer Rouge will do. I am afraid we will have a partition of the
country. With or without me, my army, my generals will organize a resistance again
and again. My generals will not surrender. Hun Sen can have Prey Veng, Svay Rieng,
Kampong Cham, but it will be a much larger resistance than before, than the last
It will now be a very bloody civil war, but for me it is nothing compared to the
continued suffering of all our people who want peace, peace, peace...