Cambodian peace may depend on UN troops
PHNOM PENH Cambodia could return to war if the United Nations does not send peacekeeping troops and administrators quickly to oversee the fragile peace accord, a U.S. congressman warned Wednesday.
"So far the peace agreement has succeeded in bringing an end to the fighting, but it could very easily fail if UN forces do not arrive soon," said Rep. Stephen Solarz (D-N.Y.), who is on a congressional fact-finding mission to this country.
The Vietnam-installed government and three rebel groups signed a peace accord in October that created a Supreme National Council to work with the United Nations to administer the country until elections in 1993.
All the parties called Monday to speed up the deployment of 10,000 UN peacekeepers.
Officials said a void in political leadership since the peace plan was signed threatens to plunge the country back into conflict.
An inaugural meeting of the reconciliation council was aborted twice by mob violence and instability in the capital.
A crowd beat and nearly killed Khmer Rouge leader Khieu Samphan on his arrival from 13 years of exile on Nov. 27, forcing him to flee the country. The mob was enraged by the Khmer Rouge killing of hundreds of thousands of people during its fanatical Communist rule in 1975-78.
Last month, anti-government riots left at least eight people dead and 16 others wounded.
The government sent troops to regain control of the streets and banned any demonstrations.