Second Prime Minister Hun Sen called a press conference July 10, his first since
last weekend's fighting. An edited transcript of his translated remarks:
Whether it is [a] coup d'état when the Constitution remains unchanged,
when the Constitution of the King remains untouched, when the National Assembly still
comes to meet here and when the National Assembly of the Royal Government still comes
to meetings here ... all political parties remain untouched - is there such a thing
as a type of coup d'état?
I was told Ranariddh accused me of staging a coup d'état around 12 hours before
I issued my first statement. This is not a coup d'état; what we have been
solving is the anarchy problem and the orders to resolve anarchy are the joint orders
of Ranariddh and Hun Sen, it is not just the order from Hun Sen alone....
But the question that rests is this ... Ranariddh's exploits are like the tactics
of Mike Tyson by biting the ear, because without TV shooting on the scene we would
not learn that Mike Tyson bit the ear of Holyfield.... We did not know what he was
doing then and without the concrete evidence like the region matters or the transport
of illegal forces ... and the start of the Khmer Rouge in Phnom Penh ... we did not
know what Ranariddh was doing....
So you see I was in difficulty when Ranariddh stayed with me in the government. He
knows all the secrets and he advises what the thief and the robbers do. So when all
his plans met with the fighters, it was the only choice [he had] to flee outside
the country and accuse me of staging a coup d'état....
He can return and confront the record and challenge within his own party, Funcinpec..
But Ranariddh did not have any right to dissolve the existing government that was
established in the election of 1993.... This government cannot be dissolved by Ranariddh
or by anybody else....
Q: The explanation that you have given for what you did at the weekend, in the
international community people are saying even if there is some merit in that it
does not excuse or justify what you did.
A: Clearly...the international community cannot take the explanation. We
would just like to know...why the international community cannot accept this, we
would just like to know why.
Q: I assume that because international leaders assume the actions you took were
not justified by the explanation that you've given.
A: As I understand it you have to ask the leaders who cannot accept it,
maybe they did not see it in the same light as they assume it to be.
Yesterday I told the ASEAN ambassadors that in 1970 all Asian countries supported
the Lon Nol regime. All the Asian [nations] except Vietnam; Thailand, Philippines
and Malaysia supported the Lon Nol regime. What they did then, they suspended the
Constitution, they imposed martial law ... and then they changed the region from
monarchy to republican, but why then it could at least be accepted by ASEAN? And
here what I did was nothing but suppress the anarchy forces...
So it's up to you whether you accept the reality or not.... You can shut your eyes
and say what you like to say, but the reality has not altered. Whether you recognize
this government or not you cannot deny the reality of this government, or at least
you recognize the government of Ranariddh and Khieu Samphan at the border, then you
can advise your government to do that.
Q: I heard it's been suggested today that you should re-install the joint government.
Would you do that?
A: I think that suggestion is tantamount to inteference not only to the
internal affairs of one country, but into the internal affairs of one party. It is
completely the internal affair of one party related to the candidate of the prime
minister.... For example tomorrow if I commit a mistake in which then I lose the
confidence of CPP in which then they would like to find another person to replace
me, what would you say then? So the idea to have only Ranariddh or Hun Sen as the
head of the coalition government ... is not only the pressures on the nation but
on the party.
Q: If it's not true, as you say, why do some of your opponents say they fear for
A: That's a question we have to resolve.... There are some people who feel
fear and they have reason to fear for that. Because some people feel ... fear because
they have too much forbidden [guns] in their house and more than the law allows.
For example some people have weapons.... at the house.... Now I appeal that those
people ... because we do not accuse them at this time. We appeal to everyone, not
just from Funcinpec, if you have a weapon ... they have to give it to the government
because there are also bad people within CPP who possess weapons more than the law
allows. And there are also some members of CPP, men who commit naughty things too....
Q: [The role of the King]
A: ...We only wish that the King returns to resolve the problem. The King is our
King. If we are against our King he can accuse us of staging a coup d'état....
Q: I'm hearing today that there is going to be a question as to whether Cambodia
should be allowed to join ASEAN given what happened.
A: I think ASEAN will take the stand in accordance with the ASEAN principles.
The ASEAN principle is that there is non-intervention in each other's internal affairs.
And what happened in Cambodia is quite clearly the internal affair of Cambodia....
One of the reasons we decided to be a member of ASEAN is because of the principle
of non-intervention into each others' internal affairs.... If Cambodia sees ASEAN
interfere into the internal affairs of each other, we will decide not to have to
be a member of ASEAN. Because even before, we were not members of ASEAN, but we did
still survive.... And therefore I hope that ASEAN will abide by their principle of
non-intervention into each other's internal affairs.