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Cambodia: Prince Ranariddh amnesty



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M ED IA RELEASE Jfa MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER

FA31 23 March 1998

CAMBODIA: PRINCE RANARIDDH AMNESTY

I warmly welcome the granting over the week-end of a full amnesty to Prince Ranariddh by King Sihanouk on the two charges of which the Prince was recently convicted. I welcome the fact that the amnesty was made following a specific request by Cambodian Second Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The Australian government strongly encourages Prince Ranariddh now to take advantage of the amnesty granted by the King to return to Cambodia.

This very positive development follows intensive international attention to ensure the credibility of the elections in Cambodia. Australia, as a co-founder and member of the "Friends of Cambodia" group, has been very active in encouraging the Cambodian parties to cooperate in achieving a political solution to put in place conditions whereby Prince Ranariddh would be able to return and participate in the political life of his country and we have been supportive of a Japanese government initiative to this end.

I encourage all Cambodian parties to implement in full the terms of the Japanese initiative and, in particular, to maintain the cease-fire and refrain from resort to military action. I would also call on the Cambodian government to take decisive action to improve the human rights situation in the country, so that elections can proceed without violence or intimidation.

I would call on all the Cambodian parties to ensure that the elections proceed as scheduled and that no new obstacles are allowed to emerge which would prevent the full participation of all parties or otherwise undermine the holding of free, fair and credible elections.

SEOUL

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