Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Former leader rejects KR peace offer

Former leader rejects KR peace offer

Former leader rejects KR peace offer

The radical Khmer Rouge (KR) guerrilla faction should not be trusted with an

advisory government role and should be crushed on the battlefield, veteran

Cambodian politician and former communist leader, Pen Sovann said on Jan

11.

"We offer many concessions to the KR but still they refuse to join

us-concerning their hard-line, we should crush them," said Sovann, adding,

"Yes-military action in favor of political negotiation."

Pen Sovann, a

veteran Cambodian politician, was appointed communist party chief following the

defeat of Pol Pot's brutal KR regime by an invading Vietnamese army in

1979.

His posts included the positions of General Secretary of the PRK

(Peoples Revolutionary Party of Kampuchea), Prime Minister and Defense

minister.

But in December 1981, in circumstances that are still unclear,

Sovann was purged and replaced by President Heng Samrin.

To accommodate

KR demands for an advisory role by appointing their senior leaders into cabinet

positions would lead to the resumption of hostilities, he warned.

"During

the KR regime all their top leaders hands are soaked with peoples' blood so

should we ask the people to welcome them?" he replied.

Cambodia's

coalition government has offered cabinet position to "acceptable" KR officials

in exchange for an immediate cease-fire, an opening of their zones of control

and demobilization of the insurgent army.

Nominal KR chief, Khieu Samphan

said, there should be no preconditions and accused the former Phnom Penh

government of trying to hijack the peace negotiations.

After he was

ousted in 1981, Sovann said, he was held under house arrest in Hanoi for 10

years and 20 days before being freed and allowed to return to Cambodia in

1992.

The 59 year-old politician has since led a quiet life in

semi-retirement in the southern province of Takeo but has recently indicated he

would like to return to the limelight of national politics.

Sovann told

reporters that he was removed from office by his Vietnamese sponsors for

advocating free market reforms and "betraying communist doctrine."

In a

90 minute free-ranging question and answer session, he warned of the dangers of

Thai culture and economic power subverting war-battered Cambodia.

"I want

to tell you this is a most serious problem for Cambodia-it is more dangerous

than (war) weapons," he said.

He also admitted that he had sought to join

the Cambodian People Party-the political wing of the former Vietnamese-installed

government but his application had been refused.

Reviewing the period

that he had passed since the United Nations-organized the May elections, Sovann

noted dryly that some politicians had "failed to deliver their

promises."

Asked to clarify the remark, he replied: "They (politicians)

promised to have national reconciliation, peace and prosperity."

He

questioned whether all politicians and government officials were following their

orders from First Prime Minister, Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

Sovann

advised politicians not to become arrogant and usurp power for their own

use.

"The government is like a boat and the people are the water-if there

is no water then the boat can't move."-Reuters

MOST VIEWED

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • Chinese may be first in tourism revival: PM

    Cambodia's tourism industry is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for Chinese travellers after Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 17 indicated that the Kingdom could soon throw open its doors to international holidaymakers vaccinated against Covid-19 – starting with guests from China. Cambodia Chinese

  • Four-pillar approach in reopening of tourism: PM

    Cambodia is drawing up a four-strategy approach to promptly restore domestic and international tourism activity and put the industry on a transition pathway to a sustainable and inclusive model that is resistant to future crises, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen. The prime minister made

  • Airline says ready for green light to reopen international tourism

    Sky Angkor Airline Co Ltd on September 21 said it is ready to transport South Korean and Chinese tourists to the Kingdom once the Cambodian government makes good on plans to reopen its borders to vaccinated travellers. The Siem Reap-based airline made the remark during a

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.

  • Cambodian bride ‘badly treated, held captive’ by Chinese man seeks help

    A Cambodian woman who travelled to China to marry a Chinese man there was “badly treated” by her husband’s family and then had to be rescued and will be returned to Cambodia to ensure her safety. The rescue operation came about after the 25-year-old