Magazine article UN Chronicle

Peace Process in Danger of Paralysis

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Peace Process in Danger of Paralysis

Article excerpt

Faced with the continuing failure of the Party of Democratic Kampuchea (PDK) to canton and demobilize its forces as required by phase II of the cease-fire in Cambodia, the Security Council on 30 November condemned the PDK and demanded that it immediately fulfil its obligations under the October 1991 Paris Agreements, which provide for a comprehensive political settlement of the 20-year Cambodian conflict.

The Council further demanded that the PDK--one of four Cambodian parties to the Agreements--facilitate full deployment of the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) in areas under PDK control: not impede voter registration and activities of other political parties in those areas: and fully implement phase II of the cease-fire, particularly cantonment and demobilization.

The Council, the international community and Cambodians were confronted with the danger of a "paralysis of the peace process", the Secretary-General asserted. He believed that "patient diplomacy" was the best means of getting the peace process back on track.

In adopting resolution 792 (1992) by a vote of 14 to none, with 1 abstention (China), the Council determined that preparations for the elections, scheduled for May 1993, would proceed in all areas of Cambodia to which UNTAC had full and free access as of 31 January 1993.

UNTAC--The second largest but most expensive peace-keeping operation in UN history--was established on 28 February 1992.

The Paris Agreements had requested: establishment of a transitional authority to end two decades of war, destruction and suffering; creation of conditions for a lasting peace; and the holding of free and democratic elections with the participation of the four parties--Front Uni National pour un Cambodge Independant, Neutre, Pacifique et Cooperatif, Khmer People's National Liberation Front, the PDK and the Party of the State of Cambodia (SOC).

As of 16 November, some 20,000 international personnel were attached to UNTAC, the bulk of whom were members of the peace-keeping force. There were 15,738 personnel serving in its military component, a civilian police component of 3,224, an international staff attached to UNTAC's five other components, divisions and administration numbering 927, and 426 UN volunteers.

During phase I of the cease-fire, the UN provided its good offices to facilitate the observance of the cease-fire by the parties. Phase 11 began on 13 June 1992.

Demobilization effectively suspended

Although some 55,000 troops of three of the factions--about a quarter of the estimated total--subsequently entered the cantonment sites and handed in their weapons, the PDK had ordered its troops not to canton. Thus, the Secretary-General reported, disarmament and demobilization had been effectively suspended.

However, despite scattered violations of the cease-fire and human rights and despite "what seem to be politically motivated acts of harassment, intimidation and violence", UNTAC was progressing steadily in other aspects of its mandate, in particular in the voter-registration exercise, the Secretary-General stated.

By mid-December, 20 political parties had been provisionally registered to take part in the elections. The original estimate of 4.5 million people eligible to vote appeared to be low. Some 4.2 million had already registered when, on 22 December, a UN official announced that the voter-registration process had been extended by a month, to 31 January 1993, to provide returning refugees with a better chance to sign up. About 250,000 would have been repatriated by the end of December and the extension was expected to benefit another 100,000, some of whom were still in transit camps.

Resolution 792

Under resolution 792, adopted on 30 November, the Secretary-General was asked to consider the implications for the electoral process of the failure by the PDK to canton and demobilize its forces and, in response to that situation, to take steps to ensure the successful implementation of the electoral process. …

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