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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - UNTAC Approach Flawed, Analyst Says

UNTAC Approach Flawed, Analyst Says

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

    month.

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."

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