Gov’t Gets Support from US, Boost from King Sihanouk

UN Assembly Seat Virtually Secured With Washington’s Support

The US supports the new government taking up Cambodia’s seat at the UN General Assembly, paving the way for full acceptance at the world body.

“The US looks forward to Cam­bodia reclaiming its seat at the UN next week,” US Ambass­ador Kenneth Quinn said by telephone.

He said the US had decided to vote in favor of the Hun Sen-led government occupying a seat at the UN.

“We will vote yes,” the ambassador said.

Lakhan Mehrotra, the personal representative in Cambodia of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said the UN’s nine-member credentials committee was scheduled to meet Friday in New York, although it was not certain that a final decision would be made.

He said the US position would be influential, hinting that if the US supported Cam­bodia’s bid, the effort would sail through. A Western diplomat agreed with that view.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has said that regaining Cam­bodia’s UN seat was one of the new government’s top priorities.

Foreign Minister Hor Nam Hong left Friday afternoon for New York where he would present credentials.

Cambodia has not been represented at the world body since September 1997, two months after forces loyal to then-Second Prime Minister Hun Sen effectively ousted Prince Norodom Ran­ariddh from his position on top of the government.

The US spearheaded the drive to keep the seat vacant, maintaining that the post-July 1997 government did not reflect the results of the 1993 UN-sponsored election. Representatives from the squabbling Cam­bodian factions—from Fun­cinpec and the CPP—both claimed they deserved UN recognition and competed for the General Assembly seat.

Mehrotra said Friday that the coalition government formed last month signals cooperation and  deserves recognition.

“I do hope that Cambodia re­gains its UN seat as soon as possible,” Mehrotra said by telephone.

“They have shown renewed confidence with the presentability of the coalition government,” the senior UN official said.

“Both Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Assembly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh have told me personally that the partnership is going to last and lend stability to the country. I, for one, am optimistic they are correct.”

The credentials committee in­cludes China, Fiji, Jamaica, Mali, New Zealand, Russia, Venezuela, the US and Zimbabwe.


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