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PM espouses fight-talk plan

PM espouses fight-talk plan

F IRST Premier Prince Norodom Ranariddh said his Royal Government is still

keeping the door open to the Khmer Rouge for talks, but at the same time it

would also continue its military pressure in a bid to weaken the Maoist

group.

Prince Ranariddh was speaking at a business seminar held for

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and businessmen on April 15, before

reports emerged that the government was losing its grip on Pailin.

He

acknowledged that the KR remained a question worrying many foreigners who are

seeking opportunity to invest capital in Cambodia.

He said "Let me

address this issue frankly and candidly with you. We are trying to resolve the

Khmer Rouge issue with a two-pronged strategy."

"One, is to continue to

leave the door open for talks to bring about a national reconciliation on the

basis of the plan suggested by His Majesty the King and two, to weaken them

militarily."

The prime minister told the businessmen the political

situation in Cambodia had changed a lot since the capture of the KR headquarters

at Pailin a month ago. He said: "...They are much weaker today and do not

represent a threat to our stability."

The Prince added "The political

risk for your investment is minimal, if any, compared to the potential return on

your investment."

Speaking on condition of anonymity a KR official

reacted with laughter at Prince Ranariddh's statement.

He said: "Using

military means to press us to the negotiating table is never effective. For many

years, though they tried, the Vietnamese forces never succeeded in managing to

eliminate us."

"And don't mention about the current strength of the

government troops, just wait and see if we are now weaker than before or

not.

"The most appropriate solution to the problem is peaceful means, not

the military one, which only delays or worsens the situation.

"The

government is very happy with victory when they captured Pailin, but those who

died never enjoy any fruit of that victory."

The KR spokesman claimed the

guerrillas had retaken Sala Krau, 12 km north of Pailin.

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