Former UN Chief Boutros-Ghali Arrives

Former UN secretary-general Boutros Boutros-Ghali arrived in Phnom Penh on Friday for a five-day visit as chief of the Inter-national Francophone Organiza-tion.

Boutros-Ghali, who was head of the UN when it decided to embark on a nearly $2 billion mission in Cambodia, was to meet with acting Head of State Prince Norodom Ranariddh on Friday afternoon.

He is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Hun Sen and CPP President Chea Sim later in his visit.

“I just want to say how happy I am to be again in Phnom Penh, to find the results of the reconstruction of the country,” he told reporters on arrival at Pochentong Airport.

Boutros-Ghali, who was re-placed as UN secretary-general by Kofi Annan in 1996, was named head of the francophone group last year. Cambodia is the third stop on his tour of former French colonies in Southeast Asia.

During Boutros-Ghali’s UN term, the international body decided to set up the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia, a 20,000-strong peacekeeping and administrative force designed to bolster the 1991 Paris Peace Accords and set up the 1993 elections.

Untac was one of the most expensive and involved UN operations ever, designed to end more than a decade of civil war between the Hanoi-backed government in Phnom Penh and a coalition of nationalist armies including Funcinpec and the Khmer Rouge.

Boutros-Ghali had no comment Friday on whether he considers Untac a success, but he did praise the recent formation of a new CPP-Funcinpec coaltion government following months of post-election deadlock and political uncertainty.

“I am happy to find that there is now a new reconciliation between the different leaders of the country, and I hope to be able through the International Organization of the Francophones to offer more cooperation.”



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