Prince Norodom Sihanouk, leader of the three party Kampuchean opposition coalition, said in Paris on June 14 that he had offered to resign because of internal coalition differences over the best way to remove Kampuchea's government.
SVs Sihanouk talking with French Foreign Minister Claude Cheysson (2 shots)
GV Sihanouk preparing to speak in Foreign Ministry
SV Sihanouk speaks (FRENCH SOT)
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Background: Prince Norodom Sihanouk, leader of the three party Kampuchean opposition coalition, said in Paris on June 14 that he had offered to resign because of internal coalition differences over the best way to remove Kampuchea's government. He clashed with fellow coalition member, the Chinese-backed Khmer Rouge, who rejected any suggestions that the coalition co-operate with the ruling Vietnamese-backed Heng Samrin government to hold elections. Prince Sihanouk said that the Khmer Rouge would not accept any suggestion of reconciliation with Heng Samrin. The prince said he had offered his resignation after talks with France's External Affairs Minister, Monsieur Claude Cheysson. He also said that there were internal differences within the coalition partners over any future French role as mediators between the Vietnamese and China. He added that he personally wanted France to play a greater part and that M Cheysson had told him that during the recent visit to Beijing by President Francois Mitterrand the Chinese had indicated that Sihanouk should wield more influence in the coalition. France, he said, had been encouraged to hear the Chinese speak more of Sihanouk than of the Khmer Rouge. Since 1979, when the Vietnamese army moved into Kampuchea and backed the government of Heng Samrin, the country has been torn by civil war. The coalition, formed in June last year has pooled its troops to fight the estimate 200,000 Vietnamese forces in Kampuchea. The prince said he would continue, if requested, as head of the coalition, which also includes former Kampuchean prime minister, Son Sann. Diplomats quoted by Reuters said the Western support for the coalition in the United Nations would collapse if the prince resigned, because the Khmer Rouge -- the largest partner -- was suspected of murdering thousands of their countrymen when they in power from 1975-78.