Cambodian Factions to Try Again to Settle Differences
PARIS (AP) _ Cambodian resistance leader Prince Norodom Sihanouk said Wednesday that warring Cambodian factions will meet again to try to resolve differences over how they should be represented an an international conference.
Sihanouk said the leaders of the four factions would meet Thursday at the chateau in suburban La Celle-Saint-Cloud where talks broke down Tuesday.
However, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry said no meeting would take place there. It was not immediately clear whether the factions could meet at another location.
The conference begins Sunday, two months before Vietnam is to complete its troop withdrawal from Cambodia, where fighting continues.
Along the Thai-Cambodian border Wednesday, Cambodian government forces shelled at least four Thai villages as part of an intensified campaign against Cambodian guerrillas in the area, Thai military officers said.
Buddhist monks ran into bunkers around a monastery in Ban Noan Sao Aee as shells fell on the area. Other villages shelled were Klong Nam Saay, Ban Nung and Ban Tote Charoen. There were no reports of deaths.
France, the former colonial ruler of Cambodia, and Indonesia are co- chairing the conference in Paris, which will involve nearly 20 nations.
Negotiations between leaders of the warring Cambodian factions - Sihanouk’s three-party guerrilla resistance and Prime Minister Hun Sen - broke down Tuesday in a dispute over the composition and seating of the Cambodian delegation.
Hun Sen is demanding that Cambodia be represented by two delegations: his Vietnamese-installed government and the guerrilla coalition. That would deny the communist Khmer Rouge, the strongest guerrilla faction, an independent voice.
The other two guerrilla factions are the non-communist forces of Sihanouk and the Khmer People’s National Liberation Front.
Sihanouk wants Cambodia to be represented as a single unit.
″We definitely refuse to let the world see that we are two Cambodias,″ Sihanouk told reporters at a news conference Wednesday. ″We let France know that in such a case, we will not attend the conference ... (and) the results of the conference will not be valid.″
Vietnam invaded Cambodia in December 1978 to topple the Khmer Rouge, which was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in a more than three-year reign of terror.
Sihanouk insists the Khmer Rouge be included in the peace process, saying such a move will contain them and ensure security. He maintains the real danger is Vietnamese ″colonization″ of Cambodia.
″The Khmer Rouge are monsters. This is understood,″ he said. ″But that is no reason for us to become a protectorate of Vietnam.″
Sihanouk claimed that Hun Sen wants two separate Cambodian delegations to give his own government legitimacy.
The majority of nations recognize the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea, of which Sihanouk is president. It holds Cambodia’s seat at the United Nations.
The disagreement over representation at the conference also includes how Cambodia’s leaders should be seated at the huge rectangular table at which the foreign ministers of the participating nations will gather.
Sihanouk said he will propose that the four parties be seated as separate units, in alphabetical order, under the banner of Cambodia.
Barring an accord, Sihanouk and Hun Sen have indicated the conference could proceed without a Cambodian delegation, dealing with international aspects of the Cambodian conflict. In such a case, ″I will go, but as an observer,″ Sihanouk said.