F OREIGN Minister Prince Norodom Sirivudh returned on June 9 from a tour of
European countries and a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement.
wide-ranging press conference, Prince Sirivudh reported what he saw as a
successful trip and gave the first outline of what the Kingdom's foreign
The Prince announced that the Danish government had
canceled a $4 million debt that the Cambodian government owed since the 1960s.
"This was a big success for us," Sirivudh said.
The FM also announced
that the European Union would sign "a political agreement with Cambodia, as soon
as possible, at the end of June."
The Prince said: "We need experts. We
need lawyers, jurists, and experts on agriculture, education and diplomacy. It
is very important for us, and the EU is ready. They are interested in
implementing projects as soon as possible in terms of human resource
development, institutional support, education, and agricultural
"The member nations of the EU also understand that we cannot
talk about development if we cannot handle de-mining operations. De-mining is
still for us, and for all of them, the member nations of the EU, a
In addition to going to France, the Prince conducted a working
visit to Germany, and went to Sweden and London.
Everywhere he went, the
FM said that he explained the policies of the Royal Government.
exception of Germany, the FM also requested military assistance. He said that in
spite of the roundtable negotiations, which he called a carrot for the Khmer
Rouge, the government needed a stick.
The FM said: "Even small, the stick must be strong. When we request military
assistance, it is not to make war, but to achieve stability.
Government has the right as a sovereign government to request military support
from other governments.
"They asked 'what kind of contribution?' I said,
'training, infrastructure through military means, like engineers,
re-organization of our army, perhaps weapons.' "
The prince's comments
also gave first shape to Cambodia's foreign policy.
The Prince announced
the return of Cambodia to the Non-aligned movement as a monarchy. "I was the
first Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia to bring the "old-new"
Cambodian flag [to the Non-Aligned movement]. We are very proud to come back to
this great family [which includes] 109 of the184 members of the United Nations."
The FM also announced that the Kingdom of Cambodia would have diplomatic
relations with Israel and with South Africa.
But the prince re-affirmed
that there was no question of establishing diplomatic ties with Taiwan or South
"Our stand is clear, the Kingdom of Cambodia recognizes only one
China, the People's Republic of China. But we are a liberal country. We welcome
all investment from all countries. If Taiwan would like to come in a private,
business way, we can talk to Taiwan in terms of economic, private
The FM indicated that the same strictures held for South
Korea, while also inviting private investors from that country.
Norodom Sihanouk has long considered North Korean leader Kim Il Sung as a close
The FM announced that he has requested Cambodia's participation
in next month's Asean conference in Bangkok, though the Kingdom is not a member.
He said: "When we talk about the forum of security in the region, I
think that Cambodia must be involved. I have made official our intention to
participate in the Asean forum on security in the region. I wait for official
confirmation, but I think that there is no problem on this."