A visiting analyst painted a bleak portrait of
UNTAC's performance in Cambodia and warned of major difficulties down the road for
the peace process unless several major changes are made.
Raoul Jennar, a Brussels-based consultant who monitors Cambodian affairs for the
NGO Forum on Cambodia, described several obstacles challenging peace in this nation:
- Vietnam's continued interference in Cambodian affairs and deaf ear to Cambodia's
claim of a "Vietnamese problem." "It is time for the Vietnamese to
go home, to close their consulates, and to negotiate a new agreement between the
two governments," said Jennar in a meeting with reporters in Phnom Penh last
According to Jennar, an intelligence network of decommissioned Vietnamese soldiers
operate inside Cambodia and report twice a month to provincial consulates or offices.
He further claimed that UNTAC Chief Yasushi Akashi and the five permanent members
of the U.N. Security Council are aware of this network.
Jennar believes it is time that the Vietnamese government urges ethnic Vietnamese
in Cambodia to return home before there is an attempt at "racial cleansing"
in this country.
"We are not far from racial explosion," he said, citing recent racially-motivated
killings and the underlying racism present in Cambodia today.
- UNTAC's electoral plan: "UNTAC's electoral system is the worst for a country
like Cambodia," he said. "Results will be limited because too many political
parties exist alongside a weak government and a weak administration."
Jennar indicated that the parties will have to create a new administration without
the necessary military clout needed to protect a sovereign government. He also criticized
an electoral system where citizens will be casting votes for parties and not for
individuals, which is a process that is contrary to the Cambodian tradition of supporting
individual leaders, not faceless party names.
"It is strange to put so much money towards ballots without the names of any
candidates, and it is also strange to create a system where political parties are
the real rulers," said Jennar.
- Thailand's "colonial" relationship with Cambodia: Thailand's enormous
economic and political influence over Cambodia is a threat to the success of the
U.N.-brokered peace process, Jennar said. "Cambodia is becoming more and more
a Thai country," he said.
- The need to revise the Paris peace agreement: Jennar noted that there is nothing
in the Paris accords covering the post-UNTAC period-what plans the U.N. has for Cambodia
following the elections in May 1993, or anything about the "gray area"
between the elections and the formation of a new government.
"Stable institutions are the pretext for nervous diplomats gauging their
own nation's relationship with Cambodia," he said.
Jennar also feels the United Nations' continued attempts to win the Khmer Rouge's
cooperation with the peace plan are misguided.
"Peace with Pol Pot was a gamble," he said, "and we've learned that
peace with Pol Pot is impossible."