Meeting in Zurich, June 19, the three Laotian princes took the first steps toward reconciliation with the intention of forming a coalition Government.
Meeting in Zurich, June 19, the three Laotian princes took the first steps toward reconciliation with the intention of forming a coalition Government. The first day's session concentrated on the general framework of internal and foreign policy. Here there was general agreement on nine points.
One of the main causes of disagreement is that the Royalist delegation led by pro-Western Prince Boun Oum, regards its opponents as a unified bloc. Prince Souvanna Phouma, the neutralist ex-Prime Minister and Prince Souphanouvong, leader of the pro-Communist Pathet Lao rebels, claim they are two separate entities.
Another stumbling block is presented by the demand by the neutralists and the Pathet Lao that the present administration in Laos be replaced with a commission formed by all three factions. This would extend a veto power to the Pathet Lao that would reach into the smallest administrative matters in every town and village.
There was also disagreement about the unification of the armed forces which the Royal Government wants immediately. The neutral and left-wing delegations say this should be done "gradually." Despite the various disputes Prince Souvanna Phouma said he thought they would agree on internal policy. Later a spokesman for the right-wing faction described the differences as profound. The talks continues on June 20.