Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

UN to Move on Elections without Khmer Rouge

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

UN to Move on Elections without Khmer Rouge

Article excerpt

THE United Nations is sticking by its timetable for holding elections in Cambodia in May 1993, but has opted for a conciliatory approach to lure the Khmer Rouge back into the process.

In a detailed resolution, adopted unanimously on Oct. 13, the Security Council deplored the lack of cooperation by the Democratic Kampuchea (DK) Party, the official name of the Khmer Rouge guerrillas, and demands that the DK respect the commitments it signed in the Paris peace accords Oct. 23, 1991.

The Khmer Rouge, the most powerful of the four factions that have fought each other since the Vietnamese-installed government took power in Phnom Penh in 1979, has refused to cooperate with UN efforts to regroup, disarm, and demobilize troops. The DK says the UN election process is unfair and has refused access to UN officials to register voters in areas it controls.

If last-minute diplomatic efforts do not succeed, the Council may consider economic sanctions against the Khmer Rouge as early as mid-November. These could include a freeze of the group's assets abroad and of its timber and gem trade with Thailand. The UN has decided that, if necessary, elections will proceed without the Khmer Rouge.

"If any party excludes itself, there's not much we can do," says Yasushi Akashi, the UN secretary-general's special representative for Cambodia. Mr. Akashi presides over the UN's most ambitious, comprehensive, and costly UN involvement in any conflict to date.

The Khmer Rouge says that the Phnom Penh government has too much power and the Supreme National Council (SNC), the UN-supervised interim administration body representing all four factions, is too weak. The DK insists that Vietnamese forces are still in Cambodia - a point Hanoi and UN officials deny - and that Cambodians of Vietnamese heritage should not be allowed to vote in the May elections. …

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