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PM claims upper hand on KR

PM claims upper hand on KR

T HE fall of Pailin has reversed the situation for a negotiated settlement

between the Royal government and Khmer Rouge, increasing the strength of the

government to bargain for peace according to the Co-Prime Minister Prince

Ranariddh.

Asked if the government is gaining advantage over the KR,

Prince Ranariddh said: "We don't need to say much now, nothing is left for them,

there is no territory controlled by the KR."

He told reporters on April 5

that the government stance of leaving the door open for the KR remained

unchanged.

He added: "The situation is different from a few months ago

since the KR have lost their positions in Anlong Veng and Pailin, now if we talk

with them the conversation will be different."

The Prince complained that

it was very disgraceful the lack of respect KR leader Khieu Samphan showed him

at several failed secret peace talks:

" Samphan seemed heedless to the fact

that I was the first prime minister, he said to me "I will not stop fighting

because the yuon (Vietnamese) still attack me"."

KR fighters have

reportedly sought to set up a new base in Phnom Malay in north-west Cambodia on

the border with Thailand.

When asked if setting up the new base was a KR

tactic to maintain the balance in negotiations with the government, Prince

Ranariddh said: " Phnom Malay is only a few square kilometers and not an issue

for negotiating. There is only one issue - how can we heal the

nation."

Meanwhile, government forces are increasing operations to flush

out the rebels in the mountain areas surrounding Pailin, including Phnom

Malay.

Tea Banh, minister of defense, refused to give a direct answer

about the start of the offensive on Phnom Malay.

However he hinted that

government forces were going to capture it soon, he said: "It is just a matter

of time."

Prince Ranariddh said that he would show pictures of KR leader

Pol Pot, who is held responsible for the death of more than one million

Cambodians, escaping during the government offensive on Pailin.

He said

"I must show you pictures of Pol Pot, pictures of his house being attacked and

pictures of him escaping with cars and convoy of trucks on tarmac road inside

territory of the Kingdom of Thailand."

When asked if it was during the

attack on Pailin, the prime minister agreed, stressing "Pailin!"

He added

"I'd like to inform that it was not inside Cambodia because I also want to have

such a road. Such a road, tarmac road, does not yet exist in our region."

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