Kampuchean resistance leader threatens to resign

By , Special to The Christian Science Monitor

Prince Norodom Sihanouk, president of the tripartite Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea, has once again threatened to resign his position. The reason given this time is that the communist Khmer Rouge -- the Prince's titular coalition allies -- killed 38 of his men between February and June. If the Khmer Rouge kill another ``Sihanoukist,'' the Prince reportedly said last weekend, his decision to resign would be ``irrevocable and irreversible.''

Sihanouk and the coalition are fighting the Vietnam-backed government in Kampuchea (Cambodia).

The Prince routinely threatens resignation. Previous reasons he has given include criticism or snubs by his noncommunist partner in the coalition, the Khmer People's National Liberation Front (twice), and poor-health.

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Despite his lack of enthusiasm for the coalition and his temperamental nature, Sihanouk is vital to the coalition. Sihanouk had a great following among Khmers, and is the coalition's political entry point into Kampuchea. Without him the coalition would have little hope of winning Khmer loyalty. The Vietnamese realize this and have long tried to win Sihanouk over or neutralize him.

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