PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
A SENIOR Cambodian guerrilla official said yesterday that his faction planned to test the government's commitment to a free press by distributing its publication in Phnom Penh next week.
"If you are going to have a free election, you have got to have a free press," Ieng Mouly of the Khmer People's National Liberation Front (KPNLF) said. "We will see their reaction and if they are really for a free press."
The government agreed to the principle of a free press under a peace accord signed in Paris in October to end 13 years of civil war and reaffirmed that commitment at a meeting of the rival Cambodian factions Saturday, he said.
His faction planned to begin distributing 2,000 copies of the KPNLF's Bulletin tomorrow or Wednesday, he said. Cambodia's press is strictly controlled by the government, which was installed by the Vietnamese in 1979.
Ieng Mouly said a meeting Saturday of the Supreme National Council reaffirmed clauses of the Paris agreement pledging basic human rights, freedom of the press, and a multiparty system.
Government and guerrilla officials are scheduled to sit down with representatives of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council tomorrow in Phnom Penh to discuss how to implement reforms allowing a free press and formation of rival parties, he said.