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FA 127 29 September 1998


The Australian Government was gravely concerned by the recent rocket attack in Cambodia on the motorcade approaching the Royal Palace in Siem Reap for the swearing-in ceremony of the Cambodian National Assembly. The Australian Government strongly condemns all such acts of violence.

The Australian Government was heartened by the attendance by all the Cambodian parties at the swearing in of the new Cambodian National Assembly on 24 September. I would hope, and expect, that this presents an opportunity for the formation of a new government and that violent incidents - such as the rocket attack - are not permitted to disrupt this opportunity. I trust that any investigation into the attack will be conducted impartially and in accordance with the rule of law.

I am pleased that, notwithstanding the recent attack, travel restrictions have been lifted on Cambodian MPs in general, enabling freedom of movement. I would also hope that any travel undertaken by the parties will not disrupt the process of negotiation leading to the formation of a workable government in Cambodia.

I call again on all parties in Cambodia to renounce the use of force and violence for political ends, and to exercise restraint and responsible leadership. The current climate of tension and suspicion demands that all party leaders remain calm to avoid the likelihood of any further violence occurring, and that political differences be resolved peacefully so that stability and effective government can be built in Cambodia. We trust that, with the swearing-in of the National Assembly, all the parties will now have the opportunity to pursue their policies, or

their differences, within the arena of parliament.

I take this opportunity to re-emphasise Australia’s continued support for a constitutional solution to the current impasse through dialogue.

Media contacts: Innes Willox, 0419 206 890