BANGKOK, Thailand — Cambodian resistance leader Prince Norodom Sihanouk urged his guerrilla allies Friday to yield to Cambodian government demands as a way of ending a deadlock over formation of a new governing council.
If the guerrillas agree, it could revive the Supreme National Council. Under a U.N. peace plan accepted by both sides, the council is to help guide the nation, racked by 11 years of conflict, to democracy through new elections.
"I request to my comrades in arms in the Cambodian resistance . . . to make a gesture which shall be appreciated by our people and the international community," Sihanouk said in a statement issued from his Beijing home.
No reaction was immediately available from the Vietnamese-installed government or from the Khmer Rouge guerrillas allied with Sihanouk's group. The Khmer People's National Liberation Front, the third faction in the guerrilla coalition, supported the prince's statement.
The first meeting of the Supreme National Council collapsed in Bangkok on Wednesday amid disagreements over the conditions for Sihanouk's participation. The council currently consists of six officials of the Cambodian government, and two representatives from each of the three guerrilla groups.
The government of Premier Hun Sen said that if Sihanouk is to be the council chairman and an added member, as the guerrillas have demanded, the government also should have another seat on the council. In his statement, Sihanouk urged the guerrillas to accept this demand.
A Liberation Front spokesman, Ieng Mouly, said consultations were under way among the factions and Thai officials. He said he expected the talks would result in another meeting of the council.
"Our idea is to convene the council again, this time with the prince. Then we can decide to add more members," he said. He said he did not know the Khmer Rouge position, "but if Sihanouk agrees and we agree it will be difficult for them to reject it."
Sihanouk said he made the appeal Friday so the world community would not criticize the resistance, and to avoid plunging the Cambodian people "into an undeserving complete desperation."
He also noted reports that the U.N. Security Council has urged the warring factions to send a unified delegation to the current U.N. General Assembly to fill Cambodia's seat. The quarrel has stalled selection of the delegation, and Oct. 18 is the deadline for presentation of Cambodia's new credentials to the United Nations.