Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia made an emotional appeal for compromise Wednesday in an effort to end the conflict in his country.
Outlining a five-point plan for a political solution to 10 years of war, Sihanouk, the former king and premier, described the Cambodian people as "the most unfortunate, the most unhappy and the most humiliated of the world."
Meeting leaders of the four warring Cambodian factions taking part in peace talks outside Jakarta, the 65-year-old Sihanouk implored them "not to leave Indonesia without having signed together a joint communique which shall tell our people and the world that the four Cambodian factions are at least capable of understanding each other on certain essential points."
The peace talks, which are taking place at Bogor, a resort 40 miles south of here, are expected to end today with general agreement that a political settlement must be reached--but with no firm agreement on how to achieve it.
In a press conference at Bogor on Wednesday evening, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach said the talks have produced "some agreements, some disagreements." Like other officials on both sides of the conflict, Thach conceded that the primary achievement at Bogor was that all the Cambodian factions had sat and talked together.
"There has been no shouting," he said, "or not a lot of shouting."
The key compromise in Sihanouk's proposal was his endorsement of an international control commission to monitor the withdrawal of Vietnamese troops and the conduct of national elections under a political settlement. Previously, Sihanouk had supported an international peacekeeping force to monitor the withdrawal and maintain order until the installation of a new government.
Earlier in the week, Thach called such forces "not peacekeeping but trouble-making." Hun Sen, premier of the Cambodian government installed by the Vietnamese in 1979, has dismissed an international force as "just another foreign army."
But Wednesday evening, Son Sann, head of a resistance faction allied with Sihanouk's, insisted that a peacekeeping force is necessary. He accused Hanoi of violating troop agreements in Laos in 1962 and in Vietnam in 1973.
Son Sann praised Sihanouk's appeal as an attempt to find a "new way" to peace in Cambodia. Generally, the prince's program calls for a series of four-part bodies to administer the transformation of Cambodia into a neutral, nonaligned country. The government, every ministry and even the army would be led by a four-headed body made up of the factions of Sihanouk, Son Sann, Hun Sen and the Khmer Rouge, whose brutal regime was displaced when Vietnam troops invaded in December, 1978.
Sihanouk did not suggest that he take a role in a transition government, but he has been proposed for such a position by the non-Communist governments of Southeast Asia that support the resistance front, the so-called Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (Cambodia). Both Vietnam and the Hun Sen government have also acknowledged that Sihanouk is the rallying figure for a political solution, but they have concentrated on trying to draw him into the existing regime in Phnom Penh.
Foreign Minister Thach, asked whether he intends to talk to Sihanouk this week, said, "No, there is no such desire." The prince is not taking a direct part in the talks. His faction is represented by his son, Norodom Ranariddh.
Before coming to Indonesia, the Vietnamese officials insisted that the talks have a format that would separate them from the discussions among the Cambodian factions. Vietnam's diplomatic strategy promotes the idea that Hanoi is not responsible for the trouble in Cambodia, despite its military occupation.
Thach said the participants at Bogor were organizing working groups for further discussions aimed at narrowing differences.