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Asean calls for ceasefire
The Nation July 9th
Asean calls for ceasefire
Ranariddh's aide killed in custody
The Nation, Agencies
ASEAN yesterday called for an immediate ceasefire in Cambodia and urged
the warring prime ministers to settle their differences peacefully.
But as the fighting in Phnom Penh died down, the head-hunting for
opposition leaders began.
While Ranariddh, who is in exile in Paris, renewed his pledge to share
power with the victorious Hun Sen by requesting France and Japan to act
as mediators, his close aide, Ho Sok, the Interior Ministry's secretary
of state, was killed in Phnom Penh while in the custody of Hun Sen
His death immediately raised fresh fears of a wave of summary executions
to wipe out the opposition.
An Asean statement issued in Kuala Lumpur said that the grouping is
dismayed by and deeply regrets the unfortunate turn of events in
Cambodia, resulting in the loss of innocent lives of both Cambodian
citizens and foreigners.
Asean foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting tomorrow in Kuala
Lumpur to discuss the situation in Cambodia and its admission to Asean.
Cambodia is expected to join Laos and Burma as members of Asean when its
foreign ministers meet later this month to commemorate the 30th
anniversary of the grouping.
The statement urged Cambodia's two warring prime ministers ''to abide by
the terms of the  Paris Peace Accords" which ended two decades of
civil war. Senior foreign officials and diplomats based here rushed to
the Foreign Ministry for consultations. During a meeting with senior
Foreign Ministry officials yesterday, Roland Eng, Cambodian ambassador
to Thailand, appealed for humanitarian assistance for the Cambodian
people and for those along the Thai border. Lakhan Mehrotra, the UN
secretary-general's representative in Cambodia, met Foreign Minister
Prachuab Chaiyasan yesterday. He said that he looked forward to the
results of the emergency Asean meeting and expressed the hope that all
the concerned parties would commit themselves to peace and
reconciliation in Cambodia.
He added that the UN would like to see the international community help
Cambodia return to the peace process as devised by the Paris peace
conference in 1991.
Meanwhile, Cambodians in the northwestern part of the country are
preparing to flee to Thailand, according to aid workers from Banteay
Meancheay who arrived in Aranyaprathet yesterday.
''The situation in Sispohon is very scary and quiet. It looks like
nobody is living there. People just stay indoors. Most of them are
packing their bags and are ready to escape to Thailand if the fighting
reaches the areas," said Suthiphong Yaemsa-nga of the Sisophon based
non-governmental organisation COERR.
Sisophon is about 45 kilometres from the border checkpoint in
Aranyaprathet, near Sra Kaew province.
Suthiphong said Banteay Meacnheay is now controlled by troops loyal to
Ranariddh. The troops wearing red scarves, have set up checkpoints along
Route 5, where they stop and inspect every passing vehicle.
People in the border town of Poi Pet, opposite Aranyapathet, are also
ready to flee to Thailand. Cross-border trade continued yesterday but
the volume of trade was much less.
"THERE WILL BE NO REAL DEMOCRACY IF WE CAN'T GURANTEE THE RIGHTS OF THE
MINORITY ETHNIC PEOPLE. ONLY UNDERSTANDING THEIR SUFFERING AND HELPING
THEM TO EXERCISE THEIR RIGHTS WILL ASSIST PREVENTING FROM THE
DISINTEGRATION AND THE SESESSION." "WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING THEIR
STRENGTH, WE CAN'T TOPPLE THE SLORC AND BURMA WILL NEVER BE IN PEACE."
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