Cambodia, and the unsung legacy of UNTAC

The Paris Peace Accords of 1991 were a necessary step on the road to peace in Cambodia.  They resolved the international dimension of the long-running Cambodian conflict.  

But they did not yet bring peace to Cambodia, because internal forces still remained in conflict. Through the years 1991-97, Cambodia remained a “leopard’s skin” of urban and agricultural areas controlled by the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) government led by Hun Sen, and inaccessible forest and mountain areas controlled by still formidable Khmer Rouge forces led by Pol Pot and, after his death, by Ta Mok. 

After the ouster with Vietnamese military help of the infamous Khmer Rouge regime from Phnom Penh in 1978, Cambodia remained for the next 13 years a poor international pariah state, supported only by the Soviet bloc and Vietnam, boycotted by the West and with no UN recognition, and under attack from insurgent Khmer Rouge forces secretly supported by outside parties.  

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