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PM proposes charter change

PM proposes charter change

Sdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh, Cambodia's first premier, suggested amending

the constitution in order to give ministerial portfolios to the Khmer Rouge in exchange

for peace.

"If we make him [Khieu Samphan] accept and implement the three points -ceasefire,

dissolution of armed forces and giving up territory-the constitution should be amended

too. But, it's not for me alone to decide, it's up to the Royal Government and the

National Assembly," Ranariddh said Dec. 25.

"It's very important to have the three points done and we should amend the constitution

for them [KR] to become co-ministers and so on in order to stop the bloodshed,"

he said.

His personal proposal was aired at a closing ceremony after a three-day Seminar on

Administrative Functions and the National Police attended by 700 police officers

and senior government officials.

During secret talks on 17 December Premier Ranariddh and Khieu Samphan discussed

the formation of a 'working group' to look at mechanisms for a cease-fire, integration

of Khmer Rouge soldiers into the Royal Army and political advisory roles in the executive

branch.

Ranariddh would not confirm the venue of the secret meeting but sources speculate

that it took place in Bangkok.

The Khmer Rouge want a 15 percent representation in state ministries and co-positions

in each of the senior military positions with their military structure integrated

intact into the new army, according to the sources.

Ranariddh said Samphan called for a 'working group of the patriotic movement' to

be made up of the Khmer Rouge, FUNCINPEC and BLDP, while the Cambodian Peoples Party

would be excluded.

This was rejected by Ranariddh who insisted on a 'working group between the Royal

Government of Cambodia and the DK' which should be composed of two representatives

from the radical faction and six from the government side.

According to the premier, the talks failed to resolve any main issues and he pointed

out that Tep Khun Nal and Cham Prasith, a former KR ambassador to the UN, were the

apparent candidates for the body, while those from the government side have not been

disclosed.

"We did not arrive at the three points during the talks, then we said good-bye,"

Ranariddh said, adding that in Beijing he had a father-to-son discussion with HM

King Norodom Sihanouk who is undergoing treatment for cancer.

The King suggested the working group include DK representatives and 'representatives

of Sdech Krom Preah First Prime Minister of the Royal Government-the official tittle

of Prince Ranariddh.

"The King does not meddle in Royal government affairs. He talked to me just

like father and son and his formula is number one," Ranariddh said.

The First Prime Minister went on to say that he won support for the idea from assembly

speaker Chea Sim, but not yet from Hun Sen, and he is now waiting for an answer from

the radical group after a letter was sent to them.

"I told Khieu Samphan that secession by any group or individual is a crime against

the whole nation," Ranariddh told the seminar.

"The King's message is that as Khmers we must try all peaceful means to settle

this question. But, if peaceful means are running short, we must do whatever to put

an end to the partition of our sacred Cambodian territory," he added.

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