Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation H.E. Prak Sokhonn has a historical truth related to the Paris Peace Agreement, saying that the agreement was made possible thanks to the wisdom, will and genuine patriotism of two great statesmen: His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk “Preah Borom Ratanak Kaudh” and Samdech Techo Prime Minister of Cambodia.
Speaking at the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Paris Peace Agreement held here this morning at the Peace Palace, H.E. Prak Sokhonn said shortly after assuming the role as Prime Minister, Samdech Hun Sen proclaimed that military means would not resolve the conflict in Cambodia; and that peace could only be achieved through negotiations and political settlements amongst Khmers.
In this spirit, he continued, Samdech Techo put forth in October 1987 a five-point declaration to resolve the Cambodian issue as follows: (1) Organise a Sihanouk-Hun Sen meeting; (2) Complete withdrawal of Vietnamese troops from Cambodia, along with the cessation of all aid and support to the forces of the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea; (3) Organise an election with international observers to form a coalition government that adheres to the principles of neutrality and non-alignment; (4) Negotiate with Thailand to establish a safe and peaceful border and arrange for the voluntary repatriation of refugees; and (5) Organise an international conference to ensure that the agreement would be reached, with the participation of both governments (Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea and the People’s Republic of Kampuchea), the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, Vietnam, India, and other countries. Samdech Hun Sen was the first to express his intention to meet with Samdech Sihanouk, with the abovementioned policy serving as the foundation for subsequent negotiations to pursue peace.
Their first meeting, also known as the “Sihanouk-Hun Sen meeting”, took place on Dec. 2, 1987 in Fère-en-Tardenois, France, paving the way for further rounds of negotiations aimed at achieving a final political solution through the signing of the “Agreements on the Comprehensive Political Settlement of the Cambodia Conflict”, which have turned 30 years today, he added.
“Indeed, many countries have extended support to Cambodia throughout these negotiation processes lasting almost 4 years, though some did more than others. France and Indonesia, in particular, have played crucial roles as Co-Chairs of the Paris Conference on Cambodia as many of our talks were hosted there. We shall also recall Australia’s initiative to temporarily place Cambodia under the supervision of the United Nations during the transition period, according to the ‘Red Book’. France and Japan for their part, while contributing to the peace agreements, have also extensively supported Cambodia’s reconstruction and development efforts. Likewise, our close neighbour, Thailand, has significantly aided the cause and supported the repatriation back home of more than 370,000 Cambodian refugees,” H.E. Prak Sokhonn said.
The Cambodian top diplomate also expressed his gratitude to other governments which have contributed based on their respective resources to bring an end to this conflict and rebuild the Cambodian nation. “We need to show gratitude and give justice to Vietnam whose voluntary forces helped liberate Cambodia from the Pol Pot genocidal regime. The complete withdrawal of their troops in 1989 also resolved the deadlock on negotiations concerning the Khmer Rouge’s future and the presence of foreign troops,” he said.
H.E. Prak Sokhonn further recalled a matter that was a fundamental element of the negotiation process that was the result of both the support by friendly countries, and more importantly the initiative and efforts of the Khmer themselves to create the Supreme National Council (SNC) of Cambodia. During the second Sihanouk-Hun Sen meeting in Saint Germain-en-Laye in 1988, Samdech Hun Sen initiated the creation of a high-level national unification council, which was once again discussed at the Jakarta Informal Meeting I (JIM I), though no agreement was reached at that time. By March 1990, with the support of H.E. General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, the agreement to create the SNC was signed with just a title amendment from the “High-level National Unification Council” to the “Supreme National Council”. The official agreement between the two parties – the State of Cambodia and the trilateral grouping – adopted the “6+6” or “6+2+2+2=12” formula and was signed in Tokyo, Japan, with the support of the host and H.E. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, also present at that event. The composition of the SNC was however determined at the Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, while the first ever SNC meeting was held in the Embassy of the Kingdom of Cambodia in Bangkok, presided over by Dean Chao Sen Kosal, known as “Chhum”.
“This is an essential part for the negotiation process, which demonstrated Cambodian leaders’ will to secure peace for the nation no matter how challenging it could be,” he stressed.
Source: Agency Kampuchea Press