Kofi Annan Emphasizes Clean Polls

A “concerned” UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged Cam­bodia on Thursday to improve the credibility of the July 26 elections, but said the UN remains committed to the pro­cess.

The UN chief stressed in a statement Thursday that it is in Cambodia’s best interest that the elections be clean.

“An electoral process which is transparent and credible should ensure the broad acceptance of its outcome by both winners and losers, the consolidation of dem­ocracy and real progress towards reconciliation,” the statement said.

“It should also enable Cam­bodia to resume its full role as a member of the international community.”

Annan tempered praise for Cambodia’s progress toward elections with mild criticism and suggestions, which one Phnom Penh diplomat described as “cajoling” the government and election officials to do more.

Annan “remains concerned by discrepancies in access enjoyed by opposition parties to the media and by persistent reports of intimidation and impunity,” the statement said.

Others, however, had hoped for a stronger statement from the UN, which organized the 1993 elections and is coordinating international monitors for this year’s polls. One international election observer described the statement as “weak.”

 

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