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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - UN Marks First Year in Cambodia

UN Marks First Year in Cambodia

Yasushi Akashi, head of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC),

acknowledged recently that the peace-keeping mission has strug-gled to achieve many

of its goals during its first year of operation.

"Our successes, though solid, are less clear-cut and are beset by continuing

difficulties," Akashi said during a speech marking the first anniversary of

UNTAC's deployment of more than 21,000 military, police and civilian staff on Mar.

15 last year.

Under Phase II of the Paris Peace Agreement, UNTAC was assigned to canton and demobilize

70 percent of the troops.

However, the Khmer Rouge, citing the alleged presence of Vietnamese soldiers in Cambodia

has refused to abide by the Paris agreement. It has also demanded more power be given

to the Supreme National Council (SNC) as a condition for its cooperation in the peace

plan.

"As a direct consequence of this the other three Cambodian factions, especially

the State of Cambodia (SOC) party, have also been less than consistent in their adherence

to the Paris Agreement," Akashi said.

He also conceded that a neutral political environment has not yet been created for

organizing a free and fair election.

Five ministries controlled by the State of Cambodia, which UNTAC was supposed to

supervise during the transitional period remain inaccessible.

Despite the problems in implementing the plan the U.N. has repatriated nearly 370,000

refugees from Thai border-camps and registered voters for the May elections.

In the face of such difficulties, Akashi called on the peacekeepers to redouble their

efforts to make sure the mission, the U.N.'s largest ever, succeeds.

"All our efforts and energies now must be devoted to establishing acceptable

conditions for free and fair elections that will be the best Cambodia has ever seen...I

know we will succeed."

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