FOUR British aid agencies have made an urgent appeal to Mrs Thatcher to play a key role at this week's Madrid Summit in bringing peace and development to Cambodia.
CAFOD, the Scottish International Aid Fund (SCIAF), Christian Aid and OXFAM are teaming up with eight other European aid agencies and have issued a joint statement to their respective heads of governments meeting at the summit.
All the agencies involved have expressed their concern that despite the withdrawal of Vietnamese troops from Cambodia in three months time, there is as yet no clear peace plan that safeguards the population from a return of the Khmer Rouge. Under the leadership of Pol Pot in the 1970s, the Khmer Rouge are believed to have killed over one million people, a
barbarism recalled in the film The Killing Fields.
"This is a critical time for the Cambodian people," says the statement. "Europe has an important role to play in the coming weeks when France will be hosting crucial international peace talks on Cambodia and Europe will be the focus of attention."
Aid agency staff in Cambodia report that the Vietnamese will leave the country on the brink of a new era. Curfews have been lifted, the death penalty abolished and there is renewed confidence in the country. The charities say food production is up, new houses and markets are being built and business of all types is booming.
According to the agencies this progress is under threat while there is no definite political settlement for Cambodia.