Prince Norodom Sihanouk, Kampuchea's former head of state has called for an International Conference to end the fighting in his country.
Prince Norodom Sihanouk, Kampuchea's former head of state has called for an International Conference to end the fighting in his country. But at the same time he says it will take more fighting to reach the conference stage and he wants arms for Khmer Nationalist Guerillas. He made the appeal in Paris at the start of a campaign apparently aimed at forming an underground government.
SYNOPSIS: Prince Sihanouk flew into Paris from Peking where he's been living since fleeing Kampuchea earlier this year. At Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport he was welcomed by hundreds of his compatriots in exile.
The former head of state intends to base himself in Paris for the next three months while making visits throughout Western Europe. His supporters say he wants to form a government in exile, in a South-East Asian country, but he's denied that. He has confirmed though that he intends to rally support for a neutralist force to challenge the Kampuchea administrations supported variously by the Soviet Union and China.
In a prepared statement the Prince called for a Geneva type conference to end the fighting, but then said only military pressure would force Vietnam and the Soviet Union to the negotiating table. He said while he hoped for an Independent Kampuchea the first task was to solve the humanitarian problem. He claimed half the population had already perished; the battle was to save the rest.
Prince Sihanouk went on to say Vietnam cared little about the disappearance of the Khmer people. Claiming the only language the Vietnamese understood was force he appealed for International military aid for Khmer Nationalists. He said it was the only way Vietnam would let go of Kampuchea.
Norodom Sihanouk was toppled in 1970 in a coup led by the pro-American Marshal Lon Nol. After going into exile in China he struck an uneasy alliance with Khmer Rouge communist guerrillas headed by Pol Pot. He returned to Phnom Penh shortly after the communist victory in 1975, only to see his partisans wiped out by the Pol Pot government. For a year he served as a figurehead for the communist rule, but then became a virtual prisoner. He was allowed to leave the country earlier this year just before the Vietnamese invasion. On getting quickly broke with the Khmer Rouge.
Prince Sihanouk says he now wants to return to Kampuchea to lead his partisans again.