KING Norodom Sihanouk has issued a warning that the Royal Government's policy of
accommodating Khmer Rouge defectors has backfired dangerously when the rebel movement
should be on its last legs.
In a recent interview with the staff who compile his monthly Royal bulletin, the
King spoke of the benefits and losses for the "strongmen" who are trying
to take advantages of the Khmer Rouge defections.
The King noted that the benefits so far have been "thin", considering that
the Khmer Rouge had earlier been "on death's door and did not have any more
Among the benefits, he noted an increase in peace especially for the people of Banteay
Another "benefit" was one that really served the interests of Cambodia's
ruling parties, rather than the country as a whole, wrote the King.
"CPP and Funcinpec (and not Cambodia or the Cambodian people) win a certain
number of party members to numerically reinforce those two big parties and militarily
reinforce their own armies."
By welcoming them with open arms and showering them with "flowers", he
noted, the leaders of the Kingdom have failed to "gain the true control of the
zones under the control of those 'breakaway Khmer Rouge factions'."
And, on behalf of the nation, they have failed to exploit the area's wealth in natural
resources. The riches generated by the gem and timber trade, the King added, should
"belong to the nation, the people, and the state rather than to such or such
men or parties".
While the Maoist guerrilla movement may have lost a lot of their military might,
according to Sihanouk, the former KR have gained leverage as a result of in-fighting
between the co-Prime Ministers and over which of their two parties will win the loyalty
of the defectors.
Elaborating on these losses, the King noted, for one, that the national budget would
have to spend "much more than before" on defense with so many "new"
Khmer Rouge soldiers being integrated into the ranks of the national Royal Cambodian
"We went as far as bringing to the wealthy Khmer Rouge of Pailin-Phnom Malai
rice(!), medicines, arms (!!!) and even land mines (!!!!)."
The King then went on about wealthy Khmer Rouge collaborating with certain officials
to capitalise on those natural resources.
The flouting of these riches "makes rich without any doubts individuals and
political parties, but ruins Cambodia," said the King.
Lastly, he noted the "very grave danger" for democracy and the people by
incorporating the Khmer Rouge in the electoral process.
It will only undermine the democratic process and lead to abuses in human rights
in the run-up to the elections, according to the King.
He noted that the presence of ex-KR during the election will only widen the rift
between CPP and Funcinpec and would only worked to the advantage of the two wings
of the Khmer Rouge- DNUM under Ieng Sary as well as the hard-liners under Pol Pot
and Khieu Samphan.
Sihanouk said that the de facto partition of Cambodia remains "without remedies"
because the two Prime Ministers would not dare to touch the autonomous zone of the
"Their armies would not be in position to force the Khmer Rouge armies to march
in step" and "they (the leaders) need too highly the political aid and
the military support of 'breakaway Khmer Rouge factions' to win the election with
'special means'", explained the King.
"The irony of all of this is that our famous leaders have decided to open their
arms to the Khmer Rouge at the same moment that they (the Khmer Rouge) were already
on death's door, their troops having been abandoned by our people ... and already
convinced of their inevitable imminent death," Sihanouk said.
"They have been brought back to life with fanfare and have been given certificates
of patriotism and even of heroes, " he added. "The dying Khmer Rouge, have
been saved from a certain death, " Sihanouk said.
The King ended his interview by saying that, from now on, the Khmer Rouge are the
real masters of the "politico-military situation in our country and the referees
of the 'matches' between the political parties (DNUM declare besides to be non-aligned)."