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Sihanouk Spurns U.N. Mission in Cambodia

September 05, 1993| From Associated Press

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Prince Norodom Sihanouk said on Saturday that he was severing relations with the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Cambodia because of reports that it did not want him to become the country's king.

In a letter to the U.N. mission chief, Yasushi Akashi, Sihanouk revoked an invitation for Akashi to meet with him in China this week.

But the mercurial prince also announced on Saturday in Beijing, where he is now staying, that he does not want to be king. Analysts in Phnom Penh said Sihanouk apparently wanted to hold a more powerful head of state position.

Sihanouk is known for his frequent, abrupt changes of mind. He has previously cut and then restored ties with the U.N. mission.

Sihanouk ruled Cambodia as king or head of state for three decades until 1970. He is head of state of the current interim government formed in July following U.N.-organized elections in May.

The May elections were held under a 1991 peace accord that ended a 13-year civil war between the Vietnamese-installed government and three guerrilla groups.

In another statement Saturday, Sihanouk said he would not return to Phnom Penh for the formal change of government in the presence of the U.N. mission. A newly elected Constituent Assembly is to take charge later this month after adopting the constitution.

Originally, a committee of assembly members drew up a draft constitution that called not for a monarch but for a head of state position tailor-made for Sihanouk.

Sihanouk's son, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who is co-chairman of Cambodia's interim government, objected and drew up a new draft calling for a constitutional monarch.

After consulting with his father, Ranariddh announced Friday night that Sihanouk had agreed to become king.

The maneuverings angered many assembly members.

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