The Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party (BLDP) late last week announced that it is
still strongly committed to the U.N. - supervised Constituent Assembly to begin on
"We must continue our hope for peace which can result from an election held
in a neutral atmosphere," BLDP's president Son Sann said during his party's
rally held in Phnom Penh on Sunday, May 16.
The week before, he had threatened to keep his party away from the electoral process
unless a neutral political environment was ensured.
About 4,000 supporters, including representatives of Kampuchea Krom-Cambodian territory
handed to Vietnam during France's colonial rule-participated in the rally which was
organized in the National Stadium.
Son Sann also appealed to his compatriots in Kampuchea Krom to maintain the Khmer
spirit in order to resolve the conflict and reunite the nation through peaceful means.
As he finished the phrase 'Long-lasting peace will not be possible unless we are
united', the crowd yelled out 'Khmer land is for Khmers only'.
"There are no foreign invaders in Cambodia except yuon [Vietnamese]," he
Vietnamese presence in Cambodia has been a lingering dispute among the country's
four warring factions and signatories to the 1991 Paris peace agreement. As their
demands for verification of the presence of Vietnamese troops by UNTAC failed to
be met, the Khmer Rouge (KR) has resorted to military attacks throughout the country
in a bid to throw the election and the whole peace process into jeopardy.
Talking to reporters recently, BLDP's spokesman Sieng La Press said his party preferred
to use peaceful means to resolve the Khmer Rouge issue rather than a military one.
"We must be very concerned if the Khmer Rouge is to be brought back to the community,"
La Press said. He added: "But retaliation is not a solution...Before taking
any military action we must go to a referendum first."
The Khmer Rouge were responsible for the deaths of more than one million Cambodians
during their atrocious regime which ended when the Vietnamese troops invaded Cambodia