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August 23, 1973 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1973-08-23

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Page Eight

THE SUMMER DAILY

Thursday, August 23, 1973

Pro Lon No! forces
-/..strengthen defenses

AP Photo
A CAMBODIAN government soldier fires a rocket from his anti-tank weapon yesterday during a
skirmish between government forces and communist insurgents near Phnom Penh.

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (/)
The Cambodian army reinforc-
ed Phnom Penh's southern de-
fense line with U.S.-supplied ho-
witzers yesterday while Foreign
Minister Long Boret called for
more U.S. military aid.
Backed by the powerful med-
ium-range howitzers, govern-
ment forces advanced along
Highway 30 across a small
bridge about nine miles southeast
of Phnom Penh and linked up
with a platoon that had been
cut off for more than a week.
YESTERDAY'S advance down
Highway 30, although less than
a mile, was the first significant
progress reported in a week. The
government forces met no re-
sistance during -the push, al-
though insurgents were earlier
reported to have poured nearly
100 mortar shells into their posi-
tions before apparently w i t h-
drawing.
The army commander, Maj.
Gen. Sosthene Fernandez, said
his forces have been strengthen-
ed with artillery and armored
personnel carriers turned over
by the ┬░United States and are
conducting offensive operations.
He said U.S. warplanes, par-
ticularly B52 bombers, had help-
ed defeat a thrust on Phnom
Penh from six different direc-
tions by 30,000 Khmer Rouge in-
surgents and their North Viet-
namese advisers. He said the
antigovernment forces suffered
heavy losses before the U.S.
planes halted their attacks be-
cause of the Aug. 15 congres-
sional deadline.
"BUT I BELIEVE the enemy
is not giving up its plans to at-
tack the city," Fernandez told
a news conference. "For the pre-
sent time, they do not have the
capability to assault Phnom
Penh. They need more time to
recover their strength and cure
their wounded."
He said he expected the in-
surgents to move against the
city within the next two months.
"We are preparing ourselves and
offensive operations are under
way these days," Fernandez
said.
Fernandez, President Lon Nol
and Long Boret briefed a group
of 40 Thai newsmen flown to
Phnom Penh as guests of the
Cambodian government. Western
newsmen were permitted to at-.
tend the news conferences given
by Fernandez and Long Baret
but were not present for the
meeting with Lon Nol.
THE THAI newsmen said Lon
Nol told them Cambodia still
has friendly neighboring coun-
tries that would support t h e
Penh government in the event of
a serious attack on the capital.

Lon Nol also reportedly said
that if the North Vietnamese re-
main in Cambodia and continue
their aggression with a major
offensive, other countries would
not sit idly by and let Phnom
Penh fall.
He did not mention any coun-
tries by name, but President Nix-
on has issued a similar warning
to Hanoi.
LONG BORET, who next month
will head the Cambodian dele-
gation to the United Nations,
said:
"Thailand has pledged econ-
omic and social aid. We would
like to have more military aid
and equipment from the United
States. No troops. We need more
aid and equipment. We f i g h t
ourselves. We know the difficul-
ties President Nixon has with
Congress.
"Our main obstacle remains
the foreign troops North Viet-
namese who are still in our
homeland," said Long Boret.
"The Khmer Rouge have no free-
dom to hold talks with us."
U. S. AMBASSADOR Emory
Swank yesterday signed an a i d
agreement with Long Boret to
provide $40,000 for rebuilding the
Neak Luong hospital as well as
$70,000 worth of equipment.
The hospital was destroyed by
a mistaken B52 bombing raid on
Aug. 6 in which 137 persons were
killed and 268 wounded.
In remarks at the signing cere-
mony, Swank said the town "suf-
fered grievously at American
hands."
HE SAID an effort is undsr
way to identify the survivors and
the relatives of those killed.
When they are identified, Swank
said the U.S. government will
make payments to them expect-
ed to total between $65,000 and
$90,000.
Elsewhere in Indochina, five
European newsmen were report-
ed detained in Vietnam by the
Viet Cong after they drove into
disputed territory 40 miles north
of Saigon.
A Viet Cong spokesman in Sai-
gon said he had no immediate
reports on the incident, b u t
added: "If these gentlemen car-
ried with them proper press ac-
creditations, they will certain-
ly be .safe and decently treat-
ed."
IN LAOS, the communist-
backed Pathet Lao complained
that reactionary demands h a d
deadlocked talks on a coalition
government.
Soth Petrasy, the Pathet Lao
representative.in Vientiane, said
his group would stay on for fur-
ther negotiations.

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