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Sunday, March 1, 1998 Published at 12:31 GMT



World

Khmer Rouge rejects Cambodian ceasefire

Cambodia's Khmer Rouge rebel faction has rejected a ceasefire between government troops and opposition forces loyal to deposed co-premier Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

The outlawed rebels described the truce as a "deception" set up by powerful Second Prime Minister Hun Sen to "destroy the resistance forces."

The Khmer Rouge announcement was not unexpected. The group, which backed dictator Pol Pot in the 1970s Cambodian genocide, had been pointedly omitted from the ceasefire declared on Friday.

The truce ended months of fighting that began when Hun Sen effectively ousted the prince in July.


[ image: Prince Norodom Ranariddh called for ceasefire]
Prince Norodom Ranariddh called for ceasefire
"This is not a surprise," said Khieu Kanharith, Phnom Penh's chief spokesman. "The ceasefire is for Ranariddh's troops, not the Khmer Rouge."

Analysts say that the Khmer Rouge rejection will complicate the agreement, which was part of a Japanese-sponsored peace plan aimed at allowing the exiled prince to return home and take part in elections in the summer.

The ceasefire requires Prince Ranariddh to cut all links with the Khmer Rouge who have been fighting alongside his troops since he was ousted.

"It was always going to be difficult for Ranariddh to prove to Hun Sen's satisfaction that the links were gone," said one analyst.

"Now, with the Khmer Rouge still fighting from roughly the same locations, it's going to be more difficult to comply and convince [Hun Sen] that the ceasefire is being honoured."
 





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