FRANCE cannot keep giving aid to Cambodia unless the Kingdom makes improvements toward
democratization, according to French MP and former Secretary of State for Human Rights
Malhuret, in an interview on Radio France Internationale, said that the French and
other governments due to gather in Tokyo in July to discuss Cambodian aid "have
to wonder about the way aid has been used."
"Cambodia is certainly no more a democracy ," he said.
Malhuret said there had been a political, economic and social failure in Cambodia
which was "very serious" considering the amount of aid which have been
provided since the 1991 Paris Peace Accords.
"In 1998, elections are scheduled but it is more and more unlikely they will
take place. In any case, it is unlikely it will be a free and fair election. All
the countries that signed Paris Peace Agreements should be worried, and asking for
a return to democracy," Malhuret said.
He quoted First Prime Minister Norodom Ranariddh saying recently in Hong Kong that
problems existed with Hun Sen, the Second Prime Minister, and that Ranariddh still
hoped elections will occur in 1998.
"When the Prime Minister himself says he hopes elections will occur, it means
he fears there won't be any elections," said Malhuret.
He said that the 1993 election took place in the best possible way but that everything
changed afterward as CPP "little by little" took back the power it had
"The CPP, who lost the election, has power in all areas - army, administration
and at the local level. Today, the opposition is muzzled, there are more and more
attacks against the press, Phnom Penh has become a major drug trafficking center
in South East Asia. The Western donor countries must be concerned. If they are not
yet aware, they will have to face the problem very soon," he said.
Malhuret noted that Rainsy's dismissal from Parliament and Sirivudh's "rigged
trial" have been maneuvers for a final takeover by "communists."
He said that it was not possible to say the truth inside Cambodia because opponents
had been muzzled, three journalists had been murdered and 12 newspapers closed down
He compared Cambodia to some Eastern Europe countries where the only solution for
opponents was to say the truth from outside of their homeland.
Malhuret said that Cambodia had been devastated and that a few people were exclusively
benefiting from timber, which was leading to rapid deforestation.
He noted that even the economic growth rate of four percent was "false."
"Most of the investors are Malaysian, Chinese or Thai and all that has been
invested flows straight out of Cambodia," he added.
French embassy officials in Phnom Penh would not comment on Malhuret's statements.
According to a French Embassy spokesman, $60 million in aid is planned for in 1996.