Retired King Says Gov’t, Not Ills, Stalls His Return

Responding to New Year’s correspondence wishing him good health and a speedy return to Cam­bo­dia, retired King Norodom Si­ha­nouk posted on his Web site that it was not his poor health, but rather the government’s abuses that kept him from returning.

In a letter dated Saturday, the re­tired King cited one still-stinging insult: The broadcasting of Lon Nol-era, anti-Sihanouk songs on tele­vi­sion and radio in October.

He added that his return would im­ply his approval of the supplemental border agreement with Viet­nam, something he was not willing to offer.

“The fact that the new generation publicized the song made me… [remember] the abasement against me. I cannot return home until I forget this suffering,” the re­tired King wrote of the songs, which accused him of ceding land to Vietnam.

“If I go home now…history and peo­ple could misunderstand, [think­ing that] I agreed with an illegal treaty signed in the previous regime,” he noted, adding that dy­ing abroad for the sake of territorial integrity would not be a mistake.

The retired King in November threatened, then dropped, a lawsuit against media outlets that had aired the songs. But, the retired King’s spe­cial secretary, Prince Sisowath Thomico, wrote in a recent e-mail, “He cannot forget this completely-un­­just humiliation which was inflicted upon him.”

Prince Thomico added that when the retired King had chaired the Supreme National Council on Border Affairs, “He was not allowed to check by Himself the current borders demarcation to compare it with the 1969’s map.”

Var Kimhong of the National Au­thority on Border Affairs said the border issue was settled and the government was using proper equipment to demarcate the border by the end of 2008.

“Don’t expect that we work like child’s play,” he said. “We won’t do a job that someone can complain about.”

Opposition lawmaker Yim So­vann said the retired King was seek­­­ing to defend his honor, not exac­erbate hostilities with the government.

“I think the [retired] King always wants to have a better relationship with the government, but he does not want to be responsible with the government approval of the border treaty,” he said.



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