Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government plays down KR threat



Government plays down KR threat

Government plays down KR threat

Solving the Khmer Rouge problem is not a high priority for the new government according

to the recently appointed Defense Secretary.

Ek Sereywath said alleviating poverty in rural areas followed by insuring general

security was more important.

But in an interview with The Post on Nov. 2 he spoke at length about the government's

efforts in combating the Khmer Rouge.

"His Majesty the King and Prince Ranariddh feel we should use all means to get

them back in the community," he said. "We will try our best to solve the

problem through dialogue and negotiations."

The former Deputy Information Minister said 30 to 40 Khmer Rouge soldiers were turning

their weapons into the government every day.

Nationwide more than 2,800 KR soldiers have defected to the government.

The government currently has five camps for re-educating Khmer Rouge defectors: two

in the Phnom Penh area at Dei Eth and Russey Keo and one each in Siem Reap, Sisophon

and Kompong Thom.

Although soldiers are leaving the Khmer Rouge in droves the future role of the guerilla

leadership is still contentious.

"For leaders we are ready to give them an advisory role but they wouldn't be

members of the government and they wouldn't be given any executive power," said

Sereywath.

He believes the Khmer Rouge are in a weak position with low morale among the rank

and file and serious divisions in the Khmer Rouge leadership.

"Some [Khmer Rouge leaders] want to join the new government and some want to

continue to struggle," he said.

"They believe there will be disunity in the new government. They dream that

this government will not perform very well, that it will be corrupt.

"They dream that we will not solve government bickering so that people will

join them."

Sereywath confirmed reports that Khmer Rouge leaders including Ta Mok, Nuon Chea

and Ieng Sary had recently visited front line guerrilla commanders to discuss plans

for a dry season offensive.

However, he said the government was prepared to deal with any Khmer Rouge military

activity.

Turning to government appointments, Sereywath said the new provincial governor for

Phnom Penh would be Chim Siek Leng, a FUNCINPEC member and former administrator of

Site B.

Both Battambang and Siem Reap would also go to FUNCINPEC party members although he

declined to give names.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • PM asks India for vaccine help

    Prime Minister Hun Sen is seeking assistance from India for the provision of Covid-19 vaccines as the country has produced its own vaccine which is scheduled to be rolled out to more than 300 million Indians this year. The request was made during his meeting with

  • One million Chinese Covid-19 jabs to start rolling in from February

    The government has confirmed that Covid-19 vaccines from China are set to begin arriving in Cambodia by February. This came as the Ministry of Health recorded two imported cases of Covid-19 on January 18. While calling on people to remain vigilant against the pandemic, ministry spokeswoman