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
"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."