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Recognition of GRUNC

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DATE 17 April 1975


The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Don Willesee, issued the following statement today (17 April).

"When in a coup d'etat in 1970 Prince Sihanouk was overthrown as Cambodia* s Head of State, the Australian Government of the day, in accordance with the realities of the situation, recognised the new government in Phnom Penh and the subsequent government under President Lon Nol - the Government of the Khmer Republic (GKR).

The realities of the situation today are such that there is clearly no point in Australia's continuing to recognise any longer the GKR as the government of Cambodia. The Australian Government has therefore decided to recognise instead the Royal Government of National Union of Cambodia; and a message from me conveying this decision has been sent to Mr Sarin Chhak, the GRUNC Foreign Minister.

In the past five years the war in Cambodia has brought appalling destruction and loss of lijFe to Cambodia and its people. The Australian Government's earnest hope is that with the ending of that war a spirit of national reconciliation among Cambodians will enable them to rebuild their country and to restore the happiness and prosperity of the Cambodian people.

. But the Australian Government recognises that the destruction - and not only the material destruction - wrought by that war will take a long time to repair. It recognises also that there will be both immediate and longer-term heeds to be met and confirms again that the Australian Government is ready to provide immediate and generous humanitarian aid and to assist also with post-war reconstruction in Cambodia.

In these and other ways, the Australian Government hopes that Australia's long links of friendship with Cambodia and its people will continue and be strengthened."