C O-PREMIERS Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Samdech Hun Sen have yet to formally
request a strengthening of the UN's military presence in Cambodia, said
Secretary-General's representative Benny Widyono.
In the wake of the
government's embarrassing withdrawal from Pailin, the government verbally asked
the UN to extend and expand its military mandate in the country, to allow
monitoring of borders.
Both premiers alluded that it was Thai support
for the Khmer Rouge which was instrumental in allowing the guerrillas to retake
their nominal base on the northwestern border.
Widyono said that he
forwarded the premiers' verbal request to the UN headquarters in New York, which
asked for a formal request from the government.
"That request has not
yet been received, though we may get it in the next few days," Widyono told the
Post on May 2.
He added: "There is no decision on renewing or changing
the UN military mandate in Cambodia. Since there has been no formal written
request from the Cambodian government for UN help, we don't know whether the UN
will expand its military presence in Cambodia."
The 20-strong UN
Military Liaison Team has a limited mandate which expires on May
Widyono said: "In a 16 April meeting at the Council of Ministers,
Prince Ranariddh and Samdech Hun Sen requested the extension of the UN Military
Liaison Team's (UNMLT) mandate by six months, and an expansion of their mandate
to include Part Three of the Paris Peace Agreements.
"Article Two of
this part of the Paris Peace Agreements deals with the responsibility of the
signatory countries with respect to Cambodian sovereingty and territorial
integrity. The two Prime Ministers never mentioned Thailand by name.
"Later clarifications indicated that what the Co-Prime Ministers
intended was monitoring of all of Cambodian borders, and the sea. But as far as
the UN is concerned there is no official complaint. It might be worth pointing
out that the UN never had the obligation under the Paris Peace Agreements to
guarantee the borders of Cambodia." Widyono added.
Widyono said that His
Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk supports the request, and that the King believes
that even a 20-man military force could be of some value.
The UN official
said: "I do know that today the UN is in financial crisis. The Secretary General
has told the member states that $247 million is owed on peacekeeping missions
"Any decision on a new military mandate will be taken by the
Security Council, and will be taken in light of the current financial situation
in the UN and recent unexpected military and security developments in
"Further, the request of the two Prime Ministers will have to
"The Article referred to in their verbal request is very
broad and contains commitments by the member states [of the UN] to respect the
territory, sovereignty and independence of Cambodia. The UN is now waiting for
specifications from the Royal Government."
The Thai government reacted
to the co-premiers' request by saying that no UN observers would be allowed on
When Widyono was asked for his own view of the request,
he said: "I am neither for nor against the request, but I want to make clear
that I work for the United Nations.
"I am not an advocate, I cannot be a
lobbyist for the Cambodian government on this or any other issue. But I am for
anything that contributes to peace and national reconciliation in
Widyono complained he had been mis-quoted as saying that he is
against the proposal.
He said: "I am not against anything. I have a lot
of bosses in New York. The decision is up to the the Security Council, when they
receive a formal request from the Royal Government, they will make their