Former Kampuchean head of state, Prince Norodom Sihanouk, says he's been assured France will help his country become independent again.
Former Kampuchean head of state, Prince Norodom Sihanouk, says he's been assured France will help his country become independent again. The Prince was speaking to reporters outside the Elysee Palace after a meeting on Thursday (13 December) with French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing.
SYNOPSIS: Prince Sihanouk has made Paris his base in an attempt to enlist Western support for an international conference on Kampuchea.
During his meeting with the French President, the Prince outlined "his campaign for a new Kampuchean government which was both neutral and independent". The Prince says in international conference could help in bringing about an end to the fighting which has ravaged his country for the past decade. He also believes an international force could supervise free election in Kampuchea.
After the meeting, Prince Sihanouk told waiting reporters that the French President had listened sympathetically to his plea.
He said the President had told him that he was right to ask for an international conference and free election for Kampuchea. The President had agreed that the Kampuchean people should be allowed the right to choose their own government. Prince Sihanouk told reporters that under his scheme, all parties could legally nominate for the elections including members of the present Heng Samrin government. The deposed Prince has already made it clear that he rejects his ties with the Khmer Rouge. He says his initial support for them was because of their revolutionary zeal and their opposition to imperialism. But he says he withdrew his support and was subsequently imprisoned when he found they were merely "Brutal killers". The Prince denies that his administration was guilty of genocide, but admits that several thousand Kampucheans died because of what he calls mistakes in implementing his government's policy. Prince Sihanouk says he is ready to lead Kampuchea against the Vietnamese.