• Short Summary

    Prince Norodom Sihanouk--a former leader of Cambodia, now kampuchea-- has condemned the Khmer Rouge, the deposed rulers of the country who he once supported.

  • Description

    CU Prince Norodom Sihanouk speaking in French

    Initials IW/

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Prince Norodom Sihanouk--a former leader of Cambodia, now kampuchea-- has condemned the Khmer Rouge, the deposed rulers of the country who he once supported. He said he supported the Khmer Rouge initially because their revolutionary zeal was directed towards opposing imperialism.

    SYNOPSIS: Prince Sihanouk made his attack on the Khmer Rouge in Paris, from where he is trying to enlist Western support for Geneva-style conference on Kampuchea. The Prince says an international conference would help in bringing about an end to the fighting which has ravaged his country for the last decade. He has already met with the French President, valery Giscard d'Estaing, saying he wants an independent, neutral Government for Kampuchea. But the one-time leader makes it clear he is not supporting the Khmer Rouge.

    He says his initial support for the forces of Khmer Rouge was because of their revolutionary zeal and their opposition to imperialism. But, he maintains, he withdrew his support and was subsequently imprisoned when he found that instead of being idealists they were merely "brutal killers".

    He says that when he gave his backing to the Khmer Rouge he didn't realise two million Kampucheans were going to die. The Prince says the Khmer Rouge sent his family to co-operatives --but, he goes on, he later discovered they had been massacred. He was told of his family's fate, he says, by refugees from Pol Pot's concentration camps. The truth, according to Prince Sihanouk, is that he hasn't supported what he describes as "the pilferers of our country" --he supported only the young revolutionaries fighting against imperialism. In the interview the Prince states that he resigned as Chief of State in April, 1976 when, in his words, "I saw that my people were being put to hard labour". Prince Sihanouk's attack on the Khmer Rouge comes as the deposed Khmer Rouge Prime Minister, Pol Pot, accuses Vietnam of trying to annihilate Kampuchea. Pol Pot says he is trying to defend his country--but obtaining military supplies has become difficult.

    He denies that his regime was guilty of genocide. He says Vietnam has been responsible for the deaths of many of his people--although he admits that several thousand Kampucheans died due to what he calls mistakes in implementing his government's policy. Now Pol Pot is calling on Prince Sihanouk to join him in the war against Vietnam-- while, in Paris, the Prince says he is ready to lead Kampuchea against the vietnamese. He says there is already evidence that the Vietnamese have established their own string of concentration camps.

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