Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today it is my great honor and pleasure to participate in this joyful ceremony to launch the Bridges, Kampong Preah I and Kampong Preah II, on the National Road 6A which has been constructed with another grant from the Royal Government of Japan.
Since the opening of the work site, from 22 January 2002 up to today, it is exactly one year that the bridges are completely finished. The National Roads 6A and 7 are the historical roads rehabilitated and improved with the invaluable grants from the Royal Government of Japan, – those include complete roads length of 124 km and main bridges, especially – the Kizuna Bridge crossing the Mekong river at Tonle Bet, Bridge 26, and Bridges 24-25 which were reconstructed for the second time, as well as the Mat Khmung and Mream Teak Bridges on the east side of the Mekong which are now under construction. Japan is a friend and a biggest donor of Cambodia who has provided tremendous support and assistance to Cambodia and our people for the rehabilitation and development in all sectors, especially in the transport infrastructure which is the “integrated organicparts arteries” of Cambodia and the engine catalyzing economic growth for the poverty reduction of our Cambodian people.
On this joyful occasion, may I ask Your Excellency Ambassador of Japan to convey the profound gratitude of the Royal Government and people of Cambodia to the Royal Government and people of Japan, – who are always contributing their resources and providing the most valuable assistance for the building and maintaining peace and stability and for the socio-economic development in Cambodia. The government and people of Cambodia will, for ever, remember in our heart those great contributions!
Almost 10 years already when the Chroy Changva Bridge was reconnected and the National Roads 6A and 7 were rehabilitated, Phnom Penh and many other regions across the entire Cambodia have been linked to the north and northeast parts of the country. This has become a key catalyst for promoting Cambodia’s economic growth and linking the Cambodian economy with the regional economy. These national roads are not only serving the national economy of the remote north and northeast regions of the country, but are also facilitating and promoting the economy and the living of people along the roads to grow very fast, – with the widespread setting up of restaurants, recreation sites, schools, health centers, pagodas and factories/ enterprises in many places.
Unfortunately, after the construction the NR 6A has suffered a series of serious floods during 1996-2000 that caused some of the bridges such as the Bridges #24-25 and 26, which were initially rehabilitated based on the old models, were seriously damaged. Thus we were forced, since then, to diverse the traffic through the detours. However, with the sympathy of the Royal Government and people of Japan we have been able to reconstruct and improve those bridges up to a high technical standard, – preventing them against the flooding and facilitating the busy traffic on those roads. Here, the Bridge #26 was solemnly reopened for use since the early last year.
The Bridges #24 and #25 which we will inaugurate now are the ones located on the National Road 6A connecting Phnom Penh with the northern and northeastern regions of Cambodia, – especially they link Phnom Penh with Kampong Thom and Seam Reap provinces, – those are the tourism destination and the biggest agricultural production region in Cambodia including the fisheries. Thus this road is a key strategic corridor for the national economy and for the poverty reduction of the Cambodian people.
In addition to the improvement of the strengthened capacity of the National Road 6A to support the traffic from NR 6 and NR7 which play a strategic role in economic development for Kampong Cham province and the eastern areas of the Mekong, the northeastern and northern provinces such as Kampong Thom and Seam Reap etc. As I have mentioned earlier, the two Kampong Preah Bridges are critical in improving efficiency and ensuring safety of the Road 6A and other bridges. Especially, they mitigate the adverse impacts of floods on the above areas. Moreover, Road 6A will become a crucial link for the ASEAN Highways from Sihanoukville to Laos border and Vientiane via Phnom Penh, Kampong Cham, Kracheh and Streung Treng. Therefore, this stretch of road plays an important role in integrating the Cambodian economy into the region in accordance to the objectives of international cooperation in the sub-regional and regional frameworks, such as the GMS and the ASEAN.
We have been gradually eliminating the consequences of war. In a hard struggle, we have made considerable achievements that highly improve the credibility of Cambodia. We have done very well to secure political stability, and socio-economic development. We have solidly maintained security, peace, safety and social order. We have successfully been hosting and chairing many big meetings such as the First GMS Summit, the 8th ASEAN Summit and other related Summits, many ASEAN Ministerial Meetings, the World Buddhism Summit, and have been receiving visits of Kings, Heads of State, and Speakers of parliaments and senates of many countries. Just recently, we celebrated the Transferring of Buddhist “Sereirikatheat” to a new place in Udong, Kandal province, where almost 2 million people attended and with very good safety. We have been achieving all these successes while some countries in the region and the world are concerned and ruined by a series of terrorist acts and insecurities.
To sum up, we have put an end to the armed conflicts and are generating good reputation for security, safety, stability and social order as well as the exercising of democracy and respects for human rights. However, we are still waging and facing another war that is the war against the poverty of our people. One of the key factors to successfully win the war is that we should have good roads and bridges network. Thus the Royal Government has considered the construction of road infrastructure as a “strategic engine” pushing the economic growth and poverty reduction of our people. Good roads and bridges are the ability to promote socio-economic development, improving the living, well being and the knowledge of the people and facilitate to secure the security, safety, stability and social order.
On behalf of the RGC, I am delighted with the appreciation and strong support from colleagues in the government, civil servants, local authorities at all levels, the private sector and all the Cambodian people, as well as all the assistance partners for our policies, strategies and the specific efforts which I have set for the purpose of rapidly reducing the poverty and suffering of our people. Once again, I reaffirm our deep gratitude for those pro-active supports extended to me so far.
Again, on behalf of the RGC and the Cambodian people and my own self, I deeply thank the Royal Government and people of Japan for the very kind contributions to our country and people. At the same time, I thank the ADB, the World Bank and other countries and all the international organizations who have actively contributed to rehabilitating, repairing and constructing the transport infrastructure in Cambodia so far, – for the cause of development and poverty reduction in our land.
In closing, please let me express my appreciation to the management and the staff of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the local authorities and concerned institutions of the government for their contributions of efforts and skills that ensure the success of the implementation of the national strategic plan for the rehabilitation and construction of roads/bridges infrastructure. I also appreciate MAEDA, the contracting construction company who has good background in transportation infrastructure, along with the PCI, the works supervision company, for the faster than planned construction of Bridges Kampong Preah I and Kampong Preah II, as I expected and were convinced in the Site Opening, early 2002.
I join the MPWT and the local authorities to appeal to all of you again and again, especially the transport companies with heavy trucks to cooperate in helping preserve and maintain those infrastructures, which are just rehabilitated, for long-term use, especially the bridges on the stretch of Road 6A. Because this road is exposed to a heavily use, – as it connect to the two key National Roads number 6 and 7, and to constant uses days and months, and threads by floods every year during the monsoon season.
Finally, Ladies and gentlemen, let me conclude by most sincerely extending to all of you the five gems of the Buddha’s wishes. May I officially declare the opening of the Kampong Preah I and Kampong Preah II Bridges or the 24th and 25th Bridges!