US embassy cable - 93PHNOMPENH577

HOR NAMHONG VIEWS THE FUTURE

Identifier: 93PHNOMPENH577
Wikileaks: View 93PHNOMPENH577 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Phnom Penh
Created: 1993-02-25 09:04:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: KDEM UNTAC CB
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
R 250904Z FEB 93
FM USMISSION PHNOM PENH
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 3632
INFO AMEMBASSY BANGKOK
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PHNOM PENH 00577 
 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL: OADR 
TAGS: KDEM, UNTAC, CB 
SUBJECT: HOR NAMHONG VIEWS THE FUTURE 
 
1. (C) - ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2. INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY.  SOC FOREIGN MINISTER HOR 
NAMHONG TOOK ME ASIDE DURING UNTAC'S DONORS REVIEW 
MEETING ON REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT FEBRUARY 25. 
AFTER ASKING ABOUT THE CORE GROUP MEETING ON CAMBODIA, 
HE TOOK THE INITIATIVE TO SPEAK FRANKLY ABOUT THE 
SITUATION FACING CAMBODIA, EMPHASIZING THE NEED TO FIGHT 
THE KR, EXPRESSING DOUBTS ABOUT FUNCINPEC AND THE KPNLF 
BUT SEEING COOPERATION WITH THEM IN THE FUTURE 
GOVERNMENT, EXAMINING PRINCE SIHANOUK'S ROLE, AND 
PROMISING THAT THERE WILL BE A TRANSFER OF POWER, 
WHOEVER WINS.  HOR WAS PARTICULARLY CANDID IN WHAT HE 
HAD TO SAY.  END SUMMARY. 
 
3. MINISTER HOR NAMHONG'S PRINCIPAL POINTS: 
 
-- THE KHMER ROUGE ARE THE PROBLEM AND MUST BE FOUGHT 
MILITARILY.  CPAF HAS THE ABILITY TO TAKE PAILIN, BUT 
HUN SEN IS HOLDING BACK HIS ARMY.  I OBSERVED THAT ANY 
SUCH ATTACK COULD PRODUCE HOSTILE KR ACTION ELSEWHERE IN 
CAMBODIA, WHICH COULD ONLY MAKE THE SITUATION WORSE.  HE 
RESPONDED THAT, SOONER OR LATER, ONE WILL HAVE TO FIGHT, 
CLAIMING THAT IT IS QUITE LIKELY THAT, SUBSEQUENT TO THE 
ELECTIONS, THE KR WILL BEGIN LAUNCHING ATTACKS. 
 
-- IF ONE DOES NOT FIGHT NOW, THE NEW GOVERNMENT WILL 
HAVE TO TAKE ON THE FIGHT.  IF THE CAMBODIAN PEOPLE'S 
PARTY WINS THE MAJORITY OF THE VOTES, THERE IS NO 
QUESTION THAT YOU.WILL SEE IT TAKE OFFENSIVE ACTION.  ON 
THE OTHER HAND, IF FUNCINPEC OR THE KPNLF WINS, IT IS 
QUITE POSSIBLE THEY WILL SEEK TO BRING THE KR INTO A NEW 
GOVERNMENT RATHER THAN FIGHT.  THIS IS SOMETHING TO 
WHICH THE SOC IS UNALTERABLY OPPOSED.  PRINCE RANARIDDH 
HAD JOKED WITH HOR NAMHONG ONCE ABOUT THIS, BUT THE 
LATTER SAW SERIOUSNESS BEHIND RANARIDDH'S JOKING. 
 
-- PRINCE SIHANOUK SEEMS TO WANT TO BRING THE KR IN, AS 
WELL, IN ORDER TO HAVE NATIONAL RECONCILIATION.  I 
RESPONDED THAT WASHINGTON TAKES A DIM VIEW OF SUCH A 
MOVE.  THE KR HAVE WITHDRAWN THEMSELVES FROM THE 
PROCESS, AND IT SEEMS STRANGE TO REWARD NON-PLAYERS IN 
THIS WAY.  HOR NAMHONG SAID THAT THE BIG POWERS SUCH AS 
THE U.S. AND FRANCE SHOULD TALK TO THE PRINCE TO 
DISSUADE HIM FROM TAKING SUCH A STEP.  TO MY COMMENT 
THAT THE PRINCE WOULD HARDLY BE PLEASED BY FOREIGN 
MEDDLING AND THAT IT MAY BE BETTER FOR CAMBODIANS 
THEMSELVES TO TALK TO HIM, HOR NAMHONG SAID THE PRINCE 
WOULD INDEED BE ANGERED BY ANYTHING FOREIGNERS WOULD SAY 
ON THIS ISSUE.  HE DID NOT KNOW WHETHER HUN SEN HAD BEEN 
ABLE TO HAVE ANY FRANK DISCUSSIONS WITH THE PRINCE ON 
THIS ISSUE, BUT THE LATTER WILL NOT LISTEN TO 
CAMBODIANS, EITHER.  INDEED, HE LISTENS TO FOREIGNERS 
MORE THAN TO CAMBODIANS.  THE PRINCE HAS NEVER BEEN 
WILLING TO LISTEN TO ANYONE SINCE HE WAS BORN; THIS IS 
THE PROBLEM TODAY AND IT WILL BE A CONTINUING PROBLEM. 
 
-- THE PRINCE IS PLAYING THE GAME NOW OF CLAIMING THAT 
HE IS THE ONLY PERSON CAPABLE OF SAVING THE CAMBODIAN 
SITUATION.  HE TRIED THIS IN BOTH 1970 AND 1975, AND IT 
DID NOT WORK.  ONE FEARS THAT THE SITUATION MAY BE MORE 
SERIOUS THAN HE CAN HANDLE.  NOT ONE MAN BUT ONLY 
CAMBODIANS WORKING TOGETHER WILL BE ABLE TO DEAL WITH 
THE POST-ELECTION CHALLENGES. 
 
-- THE SOC, FUNCINPEC, AND KPNLF CAN WORK TOGETHER IN A 
FUTURE GOVERNMENT.  DISPUTES THAT EXIST AMONG THEM ARE 
OF A PERSONAL NATURE, E.G., HUN SEN VS. SON SANN, 
RANARIDDH VS. CHAKRAPONG.  THEY ARE NOT SUFFICIENTLY 
SERIOUS TO PREVENT THE KIND OF COOPERATION THAT WILL 
ENABLE THE NEW GOVERNMENT TO WORK. 
 
-- RESPONDING TO MY CONCERN THAT THE SOC, WHILE IT WILL 
UNDOUBTEDLY OBTAIN A DECENT NUMBER OF VOTES IN THE 
UPCOMING ELECTION, MAY NEVERTHELESS REFUSE TO TURN OVER 
THE REAL LEVERS OF POWER TO THE NEW GOVERNMENT, HOR 
NAMHONG AFFIRMED THAT POWER WILL BE TURNED OVER, 
WHATEVER THE RESULTS.  THE SOC SPOKESMAN HAS STATED THIS 
PUBLICLY, AND IT WILL HAPPEN. 
 
-- IT WOULD BE USEFUL FOR ME TO MEET AGAIN WITH HUN SEN 
TO REVIEW THE SITUATION WHEN HE RETURNS FROM HIS 
INTERNAL TRAVELS (I.E., TELLING LOCAL OFFICIALS THEY ARE 
NOT TO ENGAGE IN POLITICAL INTIMIDATION AND VIOLENCE.) 
AFTER HIS CURRENT VISIT TO KAMPOT, HE WILL BE BACK IN 
PHNOM PENH LATER NEXT WEEK. 
 
4. COMMENT.  HOR NAMHONG IS CLEARLY WORRIED ABOUT THE 
POST-ELECTIONS SITUATION.  HE HAD NO EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT 
HIS CLAIM THAT THE KR WILL THEN MOVE TO OPEN WARFARE. 
WE SIMPLY DO NOT KNOW WHETHER HIS STATEMENT THAT 
FUNCINPEC AND THE KPNLF WILL SEEK TO BRING THE KR INTO A 
NEW GOVERNMENT IS VALID.  THEY HAVE BOTH INDICATED TO US 
THAT THEY WILL WANT TO DO WHAT THEY CAN TO GET THE KR TO 
COOPERATE, BUT THIS IS NOT THE SAME THING.  ON THE OTHER 
HAND, HOR WAS REASSURING REGARDING PROSPECTS FOR 
COOPERATION BETWEEN THE SOC, FUNCINPEC, AND THE KPNLF IN 
A NEW GOVERNMENT, A VIEW WE SHARE.  WHERE HE WAS 
PARTICULARLY OUTSPOKEN WAS ABOUT PRINCE SIHANOUK, VIEWS 
THAT WOULD MAKE REAL PROBLEMS FOR HOR NAMHONG WERE THEY 
TO BECOME PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE BUT ONES WHICH MANY CAMBODIAN 
INTELLECTUALS SHARE.  SIHANOUK REMAINS INDISPENSABLE TO 
THE SUCCESS OF THE PROCESS, PARTICULARLY IN ESTABLISHING 
INSTITUTIONS WHICH CAN HELP ASSURE THAT THERE IS A 
RESPONSIBLE AND RESPONSIVE CAMBODIAN GOVERNMENT IN THE 
FUTURE.  NEVERTHELESS, HE HAS HIS LIMITS, AND THE 
SITUATION WILL WARRANT VERY CLOSE WATCHING. 
 
TWINING 

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