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King's fax clarified

King's fax clarified

K ING Norodom Sihanouk never intended to convey the impression that he was warning off tourists from his country, his top aide said on August 16.

The King's Director of Cabinet Truong Mealy said: "He never, never had the idea that his message was to stop them [tourists] coming, merely that they should exercise caution."

Mealy was referring to an Aug 12 statement faxed by the King from Beijing Central Hospital, where His Majesty is recovering from bone marrow cancer.

The statement from Norodom Sihanouk, King of Cambodia, Beijing Central Satiate Hospital, August 12 was as follows:

"The Cambodian and international opinion ignores that, on many occasions, I wrote letters and addressed some requests to my compatriots that were or are responsible for the kidnapping of foreigners, friends to the people of Cambodia and not involved in the internal matters of Cambodia like Miss Melissa Himes, Mr Dominic Chappell, Miss Kellie Wilkinson, Mr (sic) Tina Dominy, Mr David Wilson, Mr Mark Slater, Mr Jean-Michel Braquet.

"Some people reproached me for having remained passive in the face of these serious kidnappings and repetitive disappearing.

"Today I ask my Cabinet, based in Phnom Penh, to give to the press, to the diplomatic corps, to the parents of the innocent people kidnapped some photocopies of my various letters, calls and prayers to the kidnappers that show that I have expanded the maximum energy looking to save the innocent people kidnapped.

"But if I don't get positive results it is not my fault. Let me beg foreigners who come to Cambodia to be very careful every time they travel inside my unfortunate country. We have to avoid pleasure trips because Cambodia is a country where civil war and insecurity rages in a lot of its regions or provinces or districts or places.

"Where there is no urgent need to travel, it is better to refrain from "strolling" in my country.

"And when you absolutely need to travel, you have to avoid doing it in a hazardous way. You have to take the advice of the qualified Cambodian authorities in order to avoid, if possible, all the incidents that will make you and your family suffer."

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