Cambodia Peace Treaty Shows How to Give Peace a Chance in Ukraine

The peace treaty signed in 1991 to end the war in Cambodia which had raged since the ousting of the Pol Pot regime in 1979 is an important reference for attempts to build peace in Ukraine today.

Cambodia in the 1980s was the centre of regional ambitions which in turn were fuelled by global rivalries. The war, started when Vietnam invaded in 1979, could only be ended by Cambodia’s adopting a status of neutrality enshrined in an international treaty, the Paris Accords of 1991, which allowed a return to peace.

During the 1980s, Cambodia was torn apart by a civil war in which “government forces” supported by Vietnam and the Soviet Union faced the “resistance” supported by China, the US and the six pro-Western countries of ASEAN at the time. The supporters of the “resistance” sought to prevent Cambodia from falling into the Soviet sphere of influence. This aim, which seemed difficult to achieve in the 1980s, became easier from 1989 with the first signs of the collapse of the Soviet Union, which was no longer able to supply its ally Vietnam with the means to continue the war in Cambodia.

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