Cambodia’s 4 Factions Clear Final Hurdle to Peace Accord
The four Cambodian factions reached agreement Thursday on the final hurdle to an overall peace settlement that would end the last Vietnam-related conflict in Southeast Asia, according to Western and other diplomats here.
The agreement, which fixes the kind of electoral system the future Cambodia will have, was struck by representatives of the factions here to take part in the General Assembly session and to negotiate terms under which the Security Council will oversee the settlement.
Some diplomats characterized the new agreement as a breakthrough. But U.S. officials cautioned that significant issues still must be negotiated between the Cambodians and the United Nations before the world body commits its prestige and resources to guaranteeing the settlement.
But this week’s developments, continuing advances begun last month, significantly increase prospects that a final accord can be signed next month in Paris to end the 12-year-old civil war, with the settlement to begin to take effect in November, diplomats said.
The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council last year proposed a peace plan calling for a cease-fire, demobilization of the armies of the four factions and transition to a new government based on elections.
These factions include the Chinese-backed Khmer Rouge, the present government in Phnom Penh backed by Vietnam and two anti-Communist rebel groups backed by the United States, one led by Prince Sihanouk.
After the U.N. proposals, the four groups formed a Supreme National Council headed by Sihanouk. The groups later also agreed to demobilize 70% of their armies, with the rest restricted to camps and disarmed under U.N. control.
Unsettled until now was how the elections were to be conducted. The four factions this week agreed on a U.N.-proposed compromise of proportional representation for each of the nation’s 20 provinces, which appears to promise each faction some representation in parliament.
The factions this week also agreed to provide military information on the size and arms of their military units, Western diplomats said, with the Phnom Penh government also agreeing to demobilize its militia as well as 70% of its regular army. The major problems to be resolved deal with differences between the Cambodians and the United Nations, a U.S. official said.
Times staff writer Jim Mann in Washington contributed to this story.