Marxists' stand threatens Cambodian peace
By Nate Thayer
June 11, 1992
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The head of the UN mission on Wednesday accused the Khmer Rouge guerrillas of undermining Cambodia's peace accord and warned that widespread fighting could erupt again. Yasushi Akashi, who leads the biggest UN peacekeeping operation, condemned the radical Marxist group for refusing to disarm as required by the peace treaty signed by Cambodia's four warring factions in October. He said the Khmer Rouge also was barring UN troops from territory it controls. "The position of the Khmer Rouge constitutes a clear breach of the peace agreement and is totally unacceptable," Akashi told reporters.
Despite the lack of cooperation from the Khmer Rouge, he said UN officials planned to begin disarming two other rebel factions and troops of the Vietnamese-installed government as scheduled Saturday. Akashi promised that UN forces would not allow the Khmer Rouge to gain an advantage over the other factions, but it was unclear whether the groups would go along.
Prince Norodom Rannariddh, head of one of the guerrilla armies, told reporters Friday that he would not allow his troops to be disarmed as long as the Khmer Rouge refused to do so. "How can we?" Ranariddh said. "If one of the parties does not agree, then I cannot go alone."
Akashi said that if the Khmer Rouge did not begin disarming within a month — the scheduled time for this stage of the peace plan — then the entire accord might collapse and reignite the 14-year-old civil War. Some fighting has been reported in several areas of Cambodia in recent days, and the United Nations has accused the Khmer Rouge of making attacks this week in the northern province of Preah Vihear.
The leader of the Khmer Rouge, Khieu Samphan, told an emergency meeting of the four factions and UN officials Wednesday that he refused to disarm because the United Nations had not implemented other aspects of the peace accord, such as ensuring all Vietnamese troops are removed from Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge says Vietnam secretly has thousands of soldiers in Cambodia who are attacking it. Vietnam claims it withdrew its last troops in 1989, and the United Nations says it has no evidence that Vietnamese soldiers are still in Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge also said the Vietnamese-installed government in Phnom Penh should be dismantled before UN officials proceed with disarmament.