UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is seeking an unlikely mandate from the world body’s security council before returning to talks with Cambodia on a Khmer Rouge tribunal, Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong said Friday after returning from an Asean meeting in Brunei.
“The UN said before it comes back it needs the mandate—I don’t think it will get the mandate,” Hor Namhong said. He would not comment of whether China would be the major obstacle in securing a mandate.
He repeated earlier claims made by government officials that Prime minister Hun Sen is willing to resuscitate Khmer Rouge talks “anytime, anywhere.”
“So now it is up to the UN. The problem is not with Cambodia,” he said.
The UN abandoned trial talks with in February, saying Cambodian negotiators were not cooperating and fearing that legal proceedings against former leaders of the ultra-Maoist regime would be undermined by the government.
Since then, Cambodia has alternately taken conciliatory and confrontational positions—the most recent of which being the premier’s offer to amend the Khmer Rouge trial law to come into line with the UN’s vision for tribunal legislation.
Hor Namhong warned that the two former Khmer Rouge leaders’ currently in prison awaiting trial—military commander Ta Mok and Duch, former director of Tuol Sleng prison—could die before legal proceedings start.
“Then the Khmer Rouge tribunal issue will be finished,” he said.