King Continues Campaign Against Book on Ranariddh

King Norodom Sihanouk Sat­urday leveled a fifth written attack against a recent biography of his son, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, disagreeing with the book’s portrayal of his own thoughts and conduct during the Khmer Rouge years.

“It is not true that, after the victory of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia on April 17, 1975, I ‘hoped’ and ‘wanted’ to remain Chief of the Cambodian state and that, ‘against my wishes’ the Khmer Rouges ‘deposed me and took me prisoner,’” he said in the release.

The book, titled “Warrior Prince: Norodom Ranariddh, son of King Sihanouk of Cambodia” and written by Bangkok-based journalist Harish Mehta, says the Khmer Rouge “mollified Sihan­ouk with the assurance that he would be reinstated as head of state with full powers, only to betray him later.”

It goes on to quote Prince Ranariddh as saying, “He felt very hurt by such treason.”

In this most recent missive, the King says that while “conscious of the misfortune of [his] people,” he wrote letters to the Khmer Rouge leadership in February and March, 1976, asking for permission to retire from his position as Chief of State. The King says the Khmer Rouge asked him twice not to step down, but eventually accepted his resignation in April 1976.

The King rounds out this latest attack against “Warrior Prince” by saying that his return to Cambodia from Beijing in 1976 was not an attempt to regain power. “It is odious and contemptible to accuse me of forgetting the tragic fate of my people, even as I myself became a prisoner of the Khmer Rouge,” he said. “If I returned to Cambodia under ‘invitation’ of the Khmer Rouge organization, it was only to live and share fortune and misfortune with the people of my homeland, Cambodia.”

For a second time Prince Ran­ariddh on Monday also criticized the book during a press conference outside the National As­sembly. He accused the auth­or of trying to split the royal family.

 

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