Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, I have a great honor and pleasure to address the opening session of the International Conference on “Cambodia and International Community” on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace (CICP).
On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC), I would like to express my warmest congratulations to the CICP and the German Federick Elbert foundation of Germany, who initiated and financed the organization of this important international conference for the purpose of strengthening cooperation and partnership between Cambodia and the international community.
May I take this opportunity to extend our warmest welcome to the delegations of our friendly countries from ASEAN and Europe, who have spent their time and contributed their valuable knowledge at this conference. This is extremely valuable as it help us look not only into the issues emerged at the present, but also help highlight the future prospects to build partnership and strengthen cooperation, in a constructive manner, between international community and Cambodia in the new era.
Furthermore, the conference on “Cambodia and International Community” is indeed timely organized, when the RGC is working hard and dedicate all efforts to resolve the political problem concerning the formation of the Royal Government and to operationalize the 3rd legislature of the National Assembly in the near future.
The Royal Government of Cambodia would like to highly appreciate the tremendous support of the international community in the peace process, national reconciliation, peace maintenance, and development through the Paris Peace Agreement signed on 23 October 1991 and the 1993 general elections organized by the United Nations with the participation and support of all friendly countries.
In fact, after the Paris Peace Agreement, the international assistance to the RGC, which was cut off for many years in the past, was resumed. While receiving the official development assistance (ODA), humanitarian aid and active support from the international community, the RGC has spared no efforts to intellectually invest those resources in development, in order to reduce poverty of the citizens.
It is worth to recall that during the 2nd legislature of the National Assembly, the assistances of the international community were particularly used to maintain macroeconomic stability and implement reform programs in all sectors. The RGC paid attention to strengthen all key economic pillars which support growth and poverty reduction of the population. According to various studies and reviews, Cambodia has been praised for achieving a good progress in maintaining macroeconomic stability. Moreover, the assistance has helped to strengthen the ownership and enhance the capacity of Cambodia, build the foundation for a continued development to advance the country destiny to reach a new level of sustainable development.
Lessons learned and experiences from social and economic development showed that all countries in the world are required to promote cooperation in order to maintain peace, democracy and progress and to live in harmony.
All those lessons and experiences are of great importance for the Cambodian people. Actually, in the new millennium, the RGC and Cambodian people are united in the joint efforts to develop the nation by linking ourselves to the region and the world and we can call this era “the Millennium of peace and non violence”.
To this end, we have made significant efforts in joining hands with the international community in order to establish the rule of law in Cambodia base on the principles of good governance, transparency and accountability. At same time, we have also exerted efforts to ensure the fundamental freedom, equity, justice and the respect for human rights in Cambodia and avoid all kinds of abuses.
In this sense, the Cambodian people can clearly see the need for cooperation with the international community and with the world at large. At the same time, the most important development in Cambodia and for the people in the past millennium was the change in attitude and promoting virtues, including the promotion of tolerance and ensuring due political process of “national reconciliation”, which is the philosophy and important way for maintaining peace, progress, prosperity and sustainability in Cambodia.
In this regard, pursuing and promoting the culture of mutual respect, tolerance, patience and mutual understanding are the best ways to find the resolution to all problems in any circumstance. Moreover, the RGC is conscious that in order to reduce and eradicate all these problems, we should not only have appropriate policies, strategies and development plans, but must also adopt implementing measures and create mechanisms with the help and support from international community.
In this regard, the RGC has broadened and strengthened the friendship and cooperation with the international community and the nations in the region and the world base on the principles of equality and mutual benefits. We have made a great effort to maintain peace, stability and social order within the country in order to humbly contribute to the strengthening of peace, stability and social order in the region and world. The RGC is conscious of its own obligation as a responsible member of ASEAN and the world community and will take an active part in establishing the world order, based on democracy, justice and social equity for the cause of peace, stability and progress of humankind.
The RGC is determined to maintain its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and implement the nation reconciliation policy in order to preserve and protect national unity, tradition and culture. The RGC is committed to a policy of neutrality and non-alignment by respecting the principles of peaceful coexistence with neighboring countries in the region and the world.
Indeed, in order to achieve this objective, we must develop Cambodia to ensure full security and economic progress and promote trade and culture. It is obvious that within the context of globalization and regionalization, domestic development could not be separated form the framework of the regional and world development. In this sense, at the Bali Summit in Indonesia last year, Cambodia strongly supported the ASEAN vision enshrined in the Bali Concord II, which embraces tree key components for regional cooperation: political and security cooperation; economic cooperation; and social and cultural cooperation. The objective is to create the ASEAN Community based on tree main pillars: (1) – ASEAN Security Community (2) – ASEAN Economic Community and (3) ASEAN Cultural Community. The tree communities will be created by year 2020. Hence, in the future, I am convinced that we have to take serious strides to develop Cambodia in order to realize the ASEAN Vision.
First, the Cambodian Security Community, is a security community, which is intertwiningly linked to the regional and world security. This effort concentrates on security cooperation in order to preserve stability and peace in the country by connecting to the region and ensuring harmony, peace, good neighborliness and development for mutual benefits.
In this context, Cambodia’s priority is to link up to the region by maintaining and further strengthening peace, national reconciliation, stability, social order, enhancing democracy, promoting the respect for human rights and human dignity, independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and sustainable development that provide to the country and people of all levels with progress, prosperity, harmony, and dignified likelihood.
This is the basic concept of Cambodia in creating a realistic and comprehensive security community, because security, peace, safety and social order in Cambodia cannot be guaranteed if the region is experiencing insecurity and instability. The same is true for the region when Cambodia has a security problem.
Second, the Cambodian Economic Development Community is crucial for the development in other sectors. The Poverty Reduction Strategy cannot be successfully implemented if there is no economic development. Therefore, the Royal Government has paid a lot of attention to promoting economic development through reforms in all sectors. In this sense, Cambodian Economy Development Community is a community connected to the regional economic community, so that we can enhance economic competitiveness to ensure stability and social progress.
To attain a Cambodian economic development community, the Royal Government will continue to promote economic growth, create jobs for workers, ensure equity and social justice through the serious implementation of Governance Action Plan (GAP) and the assurance of the government’s efficiency in carrying out reform programs in all sectors, aimed at reducing poverty of people and enhancing sustainable development, which are the top policy agenda of the Royal Government today and in the long run.
Third, Cambodian Cultural and Social Development Community: This community aims to promote cooperation in the development of cultural and social sector through improving quality of citizen’s livelihood. In this sector, the Royal Government will continue to implement its social development policy agenda through increasing investment resource on the education and public health sectors, the development of science and technology, generation of employments, and professions, conservation and national cultural heritage development, and human resource development, which are the key strategy for creating employments for the next generation and for ensuring the competitiveness of Cambodia in the future. Cambodian Cultural and Social Development Community are the genuine social and cultural community focusing mostly on social capital and human resource.
I believe that the vision of the regional community will be achieved unless there is effort at each national level to create its own small community, which is responsive to the common concept of the long-term development. An isolationism is no longer an option for any nation. Our destiny is linked to each other, and our economies are closely interdependent. In this regard, Cambodia is ready to fulfill her obligations emerging from integration and cooperation of mutual benefit at all levels, both regional and international levels. Indeed, all these works require cooperation and mutual support in the spirit of partnership and counterpart.
Our conference is very special both in terms of concept and substance as we are gathering at the moment which the South-East Asia and East Asia economies are rapidly recovering from the uncertainty, which adversely affected many countries in the region over the past few years. Therefore, we can take stock of achievements and experience in the past and if we can foresee challenges ahead for our future. We should work together to introduce effective measures in order to overcome all these challenges. We should protect and further promote the capacity of competitiveness of each nation and of the region.
In this view, I believe that our conference needs to focus on some major issues such as: (a)- strengthening of peace and stability in the region; (b)- alleviating poverty of people, especially the elimination of the development gaps existing among countries with different level of development, and (c)- strengthening economic cooperation, science, technology and culture based on comparative advantage of each country, which will bring mutual benefits to all our people, thereby positively contributing to the effort in achieving the common vision of the region in the long future.
Through my opinion and comments raised above, I believe that some of my thoughts can guide the conference’s deliberation in seeking ways to strengthen cooperation in all fields including political, economic and cultural sectors between Cambodia and international community at region and world level, in order to promote development of Cambodia towards progress and prosperity. Finally, let me wish you all, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen the five gems of Buddhist wish.