Cambodia's faltering peace process has entered a dangerous period after the U.N.
Secretary-Council stopped short of requiring economic sanctions against the Khmer
Instead, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali urged the U.N. Security Council
to impose "a series of measures aimed at securing greater cooperation and compliance
from the PDK [Khmer Rouge]."
The move comes on the heels of failed talks in Beijing in early November, with the
Khmer Rouge leadership now regrouping in their headquarters in Pailin and the State
of Cambodia warning that they are preparing for the possibility of conflict in the
coming dry season.
Senior UNTAC and diplomatic sources in Phnom Penh say that they are bracing for the
possibility of an outbreak of fighting in coming weeks. They confirm there is an
increase in resupply of ammunition and troop movements by both the Hun Sen regime
and the Khmer Rouge. The Paris agreement strictly prohibits new deployments of troops,
weapons, or ammunition within the country.
UNTAC has warned its personnel, in memos circulated to the
peacekeepers in the field, to be prepared for a possible resumption of
hostilities from now on. In his recomendations to the Security Council, Secretary-General
Boutros Boutros-Ghali warned the factions that the Khmer Rouge intransigence should
not be used as an excuse by the other factions to step up military activity.
A senior western diplomat in Phnom Penh said that by not specifically calling for
economic sanctions, Boutros-Ghali's recommendation "is designe to keep the door
open for the Khmer Rouge because it is not yet a hopeless situation."
But while the Secretary-General's message did not call specifically for sanctions-which
the Khmer Rouge have said would be "tantamount to war"-senior diplomatic
and U.N. sources say UNTAC will begin to enforce a total logging export ban on Cambodia
which goes into effect on Dec. 31.
This move is designed to cut off crucial funds the Khmer Rouge receive through logging
exports to Thailand.
The logging ban was passed by the Supreme National Council (SNC) in September, after
UNTAC chief Yasushi Akashi overruled Khmer Rouge objections to the ban. A senior
perm five diplomat in Phnom Penh said that UNTAC might urge the SNC to impose a similar
ban on gem exports, another major source of Khmer Rouge income.
The Post has learned that officials of the Hun Sen regime have requested new military
aid from some countries in recent months, arguing that the Khmer Rouge pose a new
threat and they must have new supplies to defend themselves. One of the countries,
Vietnam, officially refused the request, according to sources.
U.N. and diplomatic sources in Phnom Penh say that the U.N. Security Council will
likely have to rewrite the mandate of the United Nations to deploy troops to protect
elections, which the U.N. insists will go ahead as scheduled in May, 1993.
They say that now that the key provisions of the peace plan, which required that
the factions disarm, demobilize, and canton their troops under U.N. control, will
be effectively abandoned, UNTAC military units likely will be redeployed to protect
the election process.
UNTAC sources say that 81 percent of the eligible voters in Cambodia are in "safe
areas" they define as currently free from Khmer Rouge control or under major
Boutros-Ghali, in excerpts of a seven page draft of recommendations to the Security
Council seen by the Post, said: "The party of DemocraticKampuchea has clear-ly
demonstrated that it is unlikely to change its attitude of non cooperation in the
"Under the circumstances, I recommend that the Security Council consider the
adoption of a series of measures aimed at securing greater cooperation and compliance
from the PDK.''
But in clear reference to increased rhetoric by the State of Cambodia, the Secretary-General
warned that "the argument that the non-compliance of one party relieves any
other party of the obligations it assumed in signing the Paris agreements is unacceptable."
With the urging of Phnom Penh-based diplomats and UNTAC officials, Boutros-Ghali
reaffirmed UNTAC's commitment to holding elections on schedule but added, "The
atmosphere essential to the holding of the. . .elections does not yet exist.''