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UN Delegation to Resume Negotiations in Cambodia


A United Nations delegation has arrived in Phnom Penh to resume negotiations on setting up a court to try senior Khmer Rouge leaders for human rights abuses. U.N. diplomats have called the negotiations Cambodia's last chance to bring to justice surviving leaders of the bloody regime.

The head of the United Nation's negotiators, Hans Corell, last visited Phnom Penh when he signed a draft agreement to create a human rights tribunal nearly three years ago.

Last year, however, the United Nations walked out of the negotiations, saying it was not confident the court system the Cambodian government wanted to establish would meet international standards of justice.

"Basically, [we] had lost confidence in the procedure," says Mr. Corell. "Now we have a different situation and this is the platform from which we will work now."

In December, the U.N. General Assembly voted to send the negotiators back. The international community wants to see justice done for the nearly two million Cambodians killed by starvation, disease or execution during the Khmer Rouge's reign in the 1970's.

On his arrival in Cambodia Thursday, Mr. Corell refused to talk about the sticking points that will be discussed. He said the delegation had agreed with Cambodia's chief negotiator Sok An to keep the talks private. Mr. Corell did say the Cambodian government had promised to hand over new information about its position.

Mr. Corell and the other five members of the delegation are expected to meet with Sok An on Thursday. Mr. Corell says his team also will meet with Prime Minister Hun Sen before departing on Monday.

Most of the leaders of the Khmer Rouge live freely in Cambodia, despite the deaths of so many Cambodians and the devastation of the country's economy, during their rule.

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