On the ninth anniversary of the Paris Peace Accords, Prime Minister Hun Sen didn’t exactly say thank you to the UN.
Speaking on Apsara radio Monday, Hun Sen said the UN “could not do anything with the Khmer Rouge. They left [Cambodia] at midnight while the election was uncompleted. They only acted strongly against those who respected the agreement.”
He accused UN peacekeeping troops of spreading AIDS during their stay in the country, which ended with the 1993 national elections.
And he said it wasn’t the UN deal that brought peace, but King Norodom Sihanouk, whom he credited with forging the compromise between the CPP and Funcinpec parties.
UN officials declined to comment on Hun Sen’s statement.
Khieu Kanharith, secretary of state for the Ministry of Information, takes a different view. “October 23, 1991 was the first time all Cambodians reached out for a cease-fire,” Khieu Kanharith said. “If no such agreement was signed, there would be none of the prosperity we have today.
“Our politicians are developing political maturity step-by-step and building up better confidence.”
The accords brought development and reconstruction to post-war Cambodia, according to Chea Vannath, president of the Center for Social Development.
“The agreement gave us peace and stability we never had in the 1970s and 1980s,” she said. “Since then democracy has appeared.”
“Now we have to strengthen our political and economic self-controls. We can’t live on foreign aid for long, because many [other] countries are in crisis and need international help.”
Opposition party leader Sam Rainsy pointed out that in spite of the call for periodic elections in the Paris Peace Accords, the commune elections may not happen in 2001 as scheduled.
In a letter to the King, Sam Rainsy wrote “the long overdue commune elections [are] being continuously postponed, making a mockery of democracy in our country run by a most authoritarian regime.”