BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - Charges that Thailand supports the communist Khmer Rouge
are outdated notions kept alive by Western media, Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai said
"I have been in office for seven months and I have been unable to persuade the
Khmer Rouge to do anything because we have no special influence," he said.
Not even China, once the guerrilla group's biggest international supporter, has been
able to influence the group, he said.
Chuan, 54, Thailand's first elected prime minister since a February 1991 coup ousted
veteran politician Chatichai Choonhavan, was speaking to about 350 members of the
Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand. After a brief speech in English, Chuan engaged
in a sometimes tense question-and-answer session with the help of an interpreter.
The prime minister brushed aside suggestions that his country had given refuge and
assistance to Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot.
"My government has not afforded Pol Pot any hospitality and personally, I have
never met the man," he said.
Thailand offered support and sanctuary to the Khmer Rouge and other Cambodian resistance
forces when the Vietnamese stationed troops in Cambodia from 1978 to 1989. They installed
the current regime in Phnom Penh after ousting the Khmer Rouge from power.