RCAF Pushes to Border; KR Leaders Remain Free

Second Prime Minister Hun Sen named five military officials Monday to negotiate the reintegration of forces loyal to deposed prime minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh back into RCAF.

But the plan appeared to by­pass the thorny issue of am­nesty for two top resistance generals.

If successful, the negotiations apparently would meet the last requirement for Prince Rana­riddh to participate in this year’s national elections under a Jap­a­nese-brokered plan.

In a meeting Monday, Hun Sen told Japan’s Ambassador Masaki Saito the team would negotiate reintegration with resistance Ge­neral Khann Savoeun, a statement from Hun Sen’s office said.

“[Hun Sen] said he considers this the last step to fulfill the Japanese peace plans and the required conditions for the prince to participate in the elections,” said Prak Sokhonn, a top aide to the second premier.

The negotiation team is to in­clude General Dam Vuthy, head of the RCAF first bureau of Gen­eral Staff; General Sar Sa­roeun, deputy head of the Fourth Mili­tary Region; General Keo Pisith, deputy head of the Fifth Military Region; Colonel Lao Lithong, deputy head of the Defense Min­istry’s personnel depart­ment; and Colonel Sing Khamchanta­rong, head of the ministry’s information bureau.

However, Monday’s statement made no mention of top resistance general Nhiek Bun Chhay, the former RCAF deputy chief of staff who was convicted of conspiring with the Khmer Rouge along with Prince Ranariddh, or of Serey Kosal, another top aide convicted along with the prince.

The prince has said both should be amnestied and military analysts say reintegration is unrealistic without them. Hun Sen has re­fused to agree to the am­nesties.

“We are still assessing the significance of this development, but tentatively we can say that we hope this development can overcome obstacles for Prince Ran­a­riddh to participate in elections,” a Japanese Embassy official said.

 

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