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Evan loses touch with reality on growing Cambodia conflict: Hill



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MEDIA RELEASE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS Monday, March 30

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EVANS LOSES TOUCH WITH REALITY ON GROWING CAMBODIA CONFLICT; HILL·

The Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Robert Hill, today said the Foreign Minister, Senator Evans, had lost touch with reality on the escalating conflict in Cambodia.

"Senator Evans's comments in the Senate today were astounding for their naivety," Senator Hill said.

"He claimed that the Khmer Rouge had not been 'especially co­ operative', but said its activities could not been seen as a full-scale effort to undermine the peace settlement.

"Senator Evans's comments indicate he has lost touch with reality on the escalating conflict in Cambodia.

"He is ignoring clear evidence that the Khmer Rouge is stepping up its campaign of seriously undermining the peace process for its own political gain.

"Conflict involving heavy weapons has increased significantly since last month's United Nations Security Council decision to approve the deployment of a peace-keeping force to Cambodia.

"The Khmer Rouge has cut important road links between Phnom Penh and northern Cambodia and blown up bridges.

"There have been consistent reports of the Khmer Rouge

intimidating refugees, and Khmer Rouge offensives have forced thousands to flee their homes.

"The Khmer Rouge has also failed to co-operate on talks designed to establish a new ceasefire.

"The fighting is so bad that the Phnom Penh government has

announced a counter-attack, and the commander of the UN military forces, Australian General John Sanderson, has rightly refused to send UN troops into a war zone.

"The success of the UN peace plan for Cambodia rests largely on the good faith of the Khmer Rouge.

"On the eve of the proposed deployment of Australian forces, Senator Evans should recognise the seriousness of the fighting in Cambodia and acknowledge that the Khmer Rouge has shown nothing but bad faith."

Enquiries: Senator Hill or Mark Batistich on (06) 277 3170

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