The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in the Philippines was disrupted (on Thursday 17 May) when thirteen delegations staged a walk out.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in the Philippines was disrupted (on Thursday 17 May) when thirteen delegations staged a walk out. They were protesting against the conference chairman's decision to allow a representative of the ousted Kampuchean (Cambodian) government of Pol Pot to address the hall. The United Nations still recognises the pro-China Pol Pot administration which was overthrown by Vietnamese-backed forces in January. Madame Ieng Thirit, wife of former Kampuchean Deputy Prime Minister Ieng Sary had spent fifteen days reaching the Philippines from a secret Khmer Rouge base in Kampuchea. The conference chairman, Philippine Foreign Minister Carlos Romulo allowed several communist representatives to raise objections to Mme Ieng, but then followed established United Nations practise and called on Mme Ieng to speak.
SYNOPSIS: The decision to allow Madame Ieng to speak provoked the walk out. As she approached the rostrum, delegates from the Soviet Union, Cuba and Bulgaria began the protest. Supporters of the Pol Pot government, including the Chinese and North Korean representatives remained, as did the Rumanian delegation - but many other delegates from East European Communist countries filed out.
Mrs Ieng responded to the allegations of illegality against her government with an attack upon Vietnam. She claimed the Vietnamese had invaded Kampuchea and carried out a policy of genocide. Mme Ieng said this threatened the peace of South East Asia and the whole world and called on the international community for support. Vietnam has consistently denied the charge of invading Kampuchea to oust the pro-Peking Pol Pot administration, saying instead that the uprising was by Kampuchean nationalists.