UN gambles on Cambodia poll

Registration of voters for next year's internationally supervised election in Cambodia is due to begin today, despite the refusal of the Khmer Rouge, the most feared guerrilla faction, to co-operate with the United Nations peace plan signed in Paris last year.

Under its terms, 70 per cent of the country's 200,000 fighters should by now have gathered in assembly areas set up by UN peace-keeping forces and handed over their weapons, but no more than a tenth have done so.

The Khmer Rouge, which murdered a million Cambodians between 1975 and 1978, has refused to disarm, or in most cases to allow UN officials into areas under its control. This has allowed its main enemy, the Phnom Penh government of Hun Sen, to justify keeping its forces largely intact as well.

The UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (Untac), however, is gambling that it can hold the election on schedule next May. 'They are determined to forge ahead, never excluding the Khmer Rouge, but simply repeating that if you don't register, you can't vote,' said a European diplomat who recently had talks in Cambodia.

The compilation of voters' lists will begin in the capital today, with UN teams moving out into the countryside in two weeks' time. By late November, according to a UN spokesman, 834 registration teams, consisting of 40,000 Cambodian employees, supervised by 400 Untac officials, will be operating in every area of Cambodia, with a deadline of 31 December. Untac is also calling on political parties to register for the election. Two of the factions have filled out applications, but have yet to satisfy all the requirements.

The UN operation in Cambodia, the most expensive and ambitious in the organisation's history, has been dogged by delays and accusations of inefficiency and lavish spending. The failure of the factions to disarm has left many of the 16,000 UN peace-keeping troops with nothing to do, and money is running low. Untac's head, Yasushi Akashi, a Japanese diplomat, badly needs to show results as the mission's paymasters consider his request for more funds to be released.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company provides IT support...

Recruitment Genius: IT Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This manager is for a successfu...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£13676.46 - £15864.28 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Re...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific