T he headline on the front page of the May 20 - June 2 issue of the Phnom Penh
Post, "Govt crisis as military option fails", sent out an intolerably misleading
message to unwary and uniformed readers.
Our setback at Pailin was not
"disastrous" and our "internal weaknesses" were not and are not that serious as
to "threaten" the "Collapse" of the Royal Government of Cambodia as the article
The article claimed that both CPP and Funcinpec leadership "shun
peace negotiations and continue the war effort despite their embarrassing
The truth is that the Royal Government of Cambodia has never
shunned peace negotiations. With the consent of the Second Prime Minister [Hun
Sen], the First Prime Minister, Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh, went to
Thailand to have secret meetings with the Khmer Rouge leader, Khieu Samphan.
Those negotiations were fruitless.
The military option was forced upon
the government in order for it to prevent the Khmer Rouge from terrorizing our
people, killing, abducting and looting from them, burning their houses and
destroying their other properties, not to mention the Khmer Rouge's wanton
destruction of the country's already dilapidated infrastructure at a time the
government and the Cambodian people were endeavoring to rebuild the devastated
The article rightly reported that the Khmer Rouge were launching
a "full scale offensive" and would be using their "success on the battlefield"
to force the government to accept their demands of inclusion in the government
This is mere blackmail of the worst kind, killing people and
destroying the country in order to get a share of power. But it should be
reminded that power does not belong to the government in the first place but to
the Cambodian people who elected the present Government at the elections that
the Khmer Rouge boycotted and used violence to disrupt. The government got its
power from the people through a democratic process and not through the use of
force to kill and destroy, as the Khmer Rouge are doing.
It would be
unconstitutional to include the Khmer Rouge in the Government for one thing.
Furthermore to amend our Constitution at this juncture and under the Khmer
Rouge's threat could unravel all the precious gains in democracy, freedom and
human rights the Cambodian people have made. Besides, no nation can let an evil
force, as the Khmer Rouge are, share in its leadership.
The article made
a baseless claim that there was "continuing instability" in Cambodia. The
government has always been in control of the country except remote and
mountainous areas totaling some five per cent of the territory. It has been
stable and the coalition partners have become well united with the two Prime
Ministers and Co-Ministers getting on well with one another.
There are no
bunkers in street corners in Phnom Penh or in the provincial capitals. There was
no curfew except for a very short period in Battambang and Sisophon. There are
no armed guards protecting public buildings or shops. And the value of our
currency has been stable, 2,500-2,600 riel to the dollar. The populace has
remained calm, and was not stocking food during the so-called Khmer Rouge
The author of the article was backing his value judgment about
the situation in Cambodia by using a lengthy propaganda piece put out by the
Khmer Rouge claiming to have captured 1,000 tons of ammunition and arms in one
stockpile and a further 2,000 tons in another, and to have "bought important
quantities of ammunition" from the government forces. It is regrettable that the
Phnom Penh Post has now become a mouthpiece of the Khmer Rouge to spread false
rumors in order to create a sense of insecurity among our people. Such false
rumors are doing great harm to our national security, to our economy and to the
livelihood of our people.
I would appreciate it very much if you would
publish this letter.
- Ieng Mouly, Minister of