King Issues ‘Final’ Rebuttal

King Norodom Sihanouk used his 22nd and what he says will be his final letter rebutting the Prince Norodom Ranariddh biography “Warrior Prince” to quote French leaders Charles de Gaulle and Jacques Chirac as supporting the King’s policies.

Quoting from a 1966 speech General de Gaulle gave in Phnom Penh, the King quoted the late French leader as saying: “The day after the Geneva Peace Accords of 1954, Cambodia chose with courage and lucidity the politics of neutrality…which alone could spare Indochina from becoming a terrain of confrontation for rival dominations and ideologies and a solicitation of American intervention.

“…France entirely approves of the effort deployed in Cambodia to keep itself outside of conflict….The Kingdom of Cambodia, in the middle of a torn Indochina, seems a model of unity and independence.”

The King also quoted as follows from a letter French leader Chirac sent last week marking the 10th anniversary of the Paris Peace Accords: “I salute the irreplaceable role played by Your Majesty in bringing the Cam­bodian parties to choose the way of reconciliation and peace. This success of historic scope permitted your country to turn a tragic page and to turn itself resolutely towards the future.”

The King began releasing open letters in reaction to excerpts from the book written by Bang­kok-based author-journalist Har­ish Mehta. The book was based on interviews given by Prince Ranarridh while he lived in exile in Bangkok in 1997 following factional fighting earlier that year.

The King’s earlier letters re­butted specific passages in the book. He used his later letters to quote overseas newspaper articles and wire dispatches that were generally sympathetic to his policies.

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