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In Review

Feb 6: Reuters reported: Khmer Rouge guerrillas shot and killed a villager

who climbed a tree near the Thai border to pick its leaves for food. A Thai army

official said the rebels apparently believed the climber was a government spy. KR

guerrillas told reporters on the border that 12 government soldiers were killed when

their T-55 tank detonated a mine south of Poipet.

Feb 7: Reuters reported: The UN expressed concern that Khmer Rouge guerrillas

may be involved in increasing Cambodian drug trafficking. Georgio Giacomelli, executive

director of the UN International Drug Control Program, said in Phnom Penh that drugs

appear "where insurrectional movements and guerrilla movements have to finance

and buy their weapons." He said Cambodia is no exception. The UN plans a $100,000

program to help the country coordinate operations against drug trafficking.

Feb 7: Reuters reported: Japanese trading firm Mitsui and Co Ltd has started

a project to develop some Cambodian commodities in eastern Kompong Cham province

for export, a company official said. Tsutomu Watanabe, Mitsui's general manager for

Indochina, Burma and Thailand, said the company has started experiments with cultivation

of sesame seeds for vegetable oil and black pepper for export to Japan.

Feb 8: Reuters reported: Fighting in the remote northwest has claimed 69

KR guerrillas and 13 government soldiers, ministry of information spokesman Sieng

Lapresse said. A total of 106 from both sides have been wounded in fighting, according

to the first government figures released since fighting restarted last month.

Feb 8: A one-year education project aimed at giving business a voice in

the formation of economic policy was announced by the Preah Sihanouk Raj Academy.

The research grant from the US National Endowment for Democracy will be headed by

Dr Thach Bunroeun, the academy's founder and executive vice president. The project

will concentrate on economic policy making, business advocacy and public communication.

Feb 8: A rural development program to help small farmers, women and youth

in Kompong Thom Province is scheduled to open this month, the German Embassy announced.

The project will help develop small scale agriculture, non-agricultural income opportunities,

strengthening of self-help capacities and local organizations. The project is planned

to last 10 years, with Germany putting up US$7 million for the first three. It will

be officially opened by Dr Hong Sun Hout and a representative of the German Embassy.

Feb 9: Reuters reported: Cambodia hopes to have a countrywide telecommunications

network operational by April, So Kuhn, secretary of state of post and telecommunication,

said. He said in a speech that more than 2,000 telecommunications lines had been

connected to the more remote provinces.

Feb 9: Reuters reported: Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said King Norodom

Sihanouk would have greater political clout if he abdicated and became a "super

citizen." Rainsy, speaking to the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong,

said, "I think the king is in a position to play a positive and unifying role,

and over the last few months he has started to consider abdication."

Feb 11: Reuters reported: Association of Southeast Asian Nations left Cambodia

expressing optimism about the country's development prospects, Hor Sothoun, a ministry

of foreign affairs spokesman, said. He said Cambodia must soon appoint a "senior

economic official" to attend ASEAN economic meetings to speed up the country's

eventual full membership in the seven-nation group. Cambodia and Vietnam are observer

countries, and Burma has applied for that status.

Feb 13: A two-member team gathering facts for donors in Sweden started

a 10-day fact-finding visit in Cambodia. The Sida representatives concentrated on

democracy, the media and the free press. They met with representatives of international

organizations and local media groups.

Feb 14: Reuters reported: The Thai Army imposed curfews along stretches

of the Cambodia border in an effort to prevent Khmer Rouge and Cambodian government

forces from using Thai soil to launch attacks on each other, a Thai officer said.

A 9pm to 4am curfew went into effect opposite Poipet and a dusk-to-dawn curfew fell

on a border road north of the Thai town of Aranyaprathet.

Feb 14: Reuters reported: Medical workers and wounded soldiers in Phnom

Penh said Cambodian forces have suffered hundreds of casualties in intense fighting

with KR guerrillas over the past weeks. The 200-bed military hospital in Battambang

was reported filled to capacity and Dr Kao Try at Phnom Penh's military hospital

said 876 soldiers were being treated. The government has played down the offensive,

saying it is a limited operation to push guerrillas away from government towns.

Feb 15: Office equipment to help day to day work on national immunization

days was handed over by Japan in a ceremony at the Ministry of Health. The equipment

included typewriters, personal computers, photocopy machines and a generator.

Feb 15: Reuters reported: King Norodom Sihanouk has appealed to "rich

countries and friends" for emergency assistance to upgrade Cambodia's crowded

and poorly equipped military hospitals. In a statement from Bejing, where he is receiving

medical treatment, the King said: "The civil war has intensified... During the

past days, weeks and months the situation has become more dramatic than ever and

the number of victims from the war and the land mines continues to rise."

Feb 16: A ribbon was cut and a cloth removed from a billboard promoting

mine awareness in Kompong Speu Province. Minister of Information Ieng Mouly was to

speak, according to an announcement from the Cambodian Mine Awareness Centre who

organized the event in cooperation with the Coca-Cola Company.

Feb 16: Reuters reported: The government hopes to sign contracts with a

French, a Malaysian and a Cambodian company for separate projects to manage rubber

plantations in Kompong Cham province, said Ly Phala, director of the agriculture

ministry's rubber plantation directorate. The French company Plantations des Terres

Rouges seeks to manage a 14,000-hectare plantation, and the Cambodian firm Mong Rethy

proposes to develop a 3,300-hectare plantation. He gave no details about the bid

by Malaysia's Charm Oriental Sdn Bhd.

Feb 19: Reuters reported: Many more Khmer Rouge killing fields have been

found across Cambodia, and the number of people who died during the KR's 1975-78

rule may be as high as 2 million, an official of the Cambodian Genocide Program said.

Craig Etcheson, manager of the US government-funded project, said investigators have

found evidence of as many as 1,000 mass graves, with an average of 100 to 250 victims

each, in some districts. Earlier estimates of the number of people who were executed

or died of starvation, forced labor or disease under the KR ranged from 1 million

to 1.7 million.

Feb 20: Groundbreaking was scheduled for a project to improve the Phnom

Penh telecommunication network - including the deteriorated underground phone system.

Japan will give US$18 million to help rebuild the system. The ceremony at Sihanouk

and Monivong Boulevards was attended by So Kuhn, secretary of state for posts and

telecommunications, and Shigenobu Kato, Japanese charge d'affaires.



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