BANGKOK (AP) - Thai army officers said June 2 the army would not favor Cambodia's
Khmer Rouge with aid or sanctuary after a national election in which the guerrilla
group did not take part.
"We in the Thai army do not have any special relat-ionship...with the Khmer
Rouge," said Maj. Gen. Teerawat Putamanonda, director of army intelligence.
He said the guerrilla group was no longer receiving weapons through Thailand.
The communist Khmer Rouge denounced the election, and said that participating in
it would amount to an act of treason. But despite the guerrillas' threats of violent
disruption, almost 90 percent of Cambodia's 4.7 million registered voters went to
the polls for the country's first multi-party election in 21 years.
Teerawat said the army would not offer military help to any Cambodian faction. Thailand
has tightened border security to prevent fighting from spilling over into its territory.
The Khmer Rouge was ousted from power in 1979 by a Vietnamese invasion. The guerrilla
group was one of four Cambodian factions to sign a 1991 peace accord to end 13 years
of civil war and authorize last week's U.N.-supervised elections, but later pulled
out of the peace process.
Thailand, which feared possible Vietnamese expansionism, served as a rear base for
the Khmer Rouge and other resistance factions during the civil war. Weapons and other
supplies, especially from China, went through Thai territory.
Speaking at a news conference, Teerawat acknowledged that Thailand had given support
in the past to the Khmer Rouge, but pointed out that it was in the context of support
for a resistance government that was recognized by the U.N. and many Western nations.
Teerawat said that over the last two decades, the Khmer Rouge had stored large quantities
of arms and ammunition.
"With the arms they've got now, they can keep fighting at a low level for a
long time," he said.
Army commander Gen. Wimol Wongwanich said that in the past, the army maintained closer
contact with the Khmer Rouge than with the other three main factions.
"But in the future, we will make it a practice to treat every faction evenly,"
he said. "We will not get involved in their internal affairs-period."