Your Venerable Buddhist Monks,
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Our Compatriots,
Today, I am extremely honored and pleased to join all of you to commemorate the 51th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) and to inaugurate the commanding head quarter. This event is organized at such the time, coinciding the fully peaceful period our country is enjoying and when the Royal Government (RG) of Third Mandate was formulated through democratic and fair general election.
Even more special, we organize this event when people across the country are celebrating with great love and happiness the coronation of the new King, His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihamony, the King of Cambodia.
Indeed, November 9 is the National Independence Day and the RCAF’s Establishment Day to celebrate national independence, peace, national integrity, territorial sovereignty, and progress of our nation. Furthermore, adopting November 9, as a day to commemorate these great events, has a special purpose to recall the noble achievements of His Majestry Preah Bat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk in creating the RCAF during his wise tenures and leadership that had claimed independence from the French protectorate on 9 November 1953. Since then the RCAF was established by transforming itself from the Courageous Cambodian Women Militia Group.
Just before now, you all Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, listened to the speeches made by H.E. General Tea Banh, Deputy Prime Minister, Co-Minister of Defense and H.E. General Ke Kim Yan, the Chief of the RCAF, reflecting the establishment of RCAF, the brave performance and sacrifices of RCAF’s historical missions for the causes of independence, peace, integrity, territorial sovereignty and development of our nation and motherland.
Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government and my own self, I would like to express my gratitude and sincere appreciation to all RCAF’s officers and soldiers for their tremendous sacrifices and efforts to overcome all kinds of difficulties and challenges to contribute to causes of national reconciliation for the peace, stability, security, social order and development of our homeland towards progress and prosperity. RCAF has also contributed to the successful implementation of the Royal Government’s policies and Triangular Strategy during the 2nd mandate, as well as to the five year reform plan of RCAF and continues to actively implement policy programs and Royal Government’s Rectangular Strategy of 3rd mandate.
At the same time, I wish to express my deep gratitude to all our countrymen who have sacrificed their beloved children, spouses and relatives to serve the RCAF for protecting the country throughout the generations. May I convey my warmest regards, love and gratitude to those families of deceased, disable and demobilized soldiers, as well as to those that are injured and hospitalized; and I wish them quick recovery and good health.
I would like to take this opportunity also to recall again that over these past three decades, the internal conflict and protracted civil wars have rooted out the RCAF to complete destruction. Only after the general elections in 1993 that the RCAF has been reorganized by integrating the former forces of the parties to the Paris Peace Agreement under the wise leadership of His Majesty Norodom Sihanouk, the former King of Cambodia.
The RCAF has been built and reorganized into a unique national army of the Kingdom of Cambodia, with the core responsibility to protect the national independence, integrity and territorial sovereignty of the Kingdom of Cambodia, to protect the constitution, peace and political stability, as well as to actively participate in maintaining social order, strengthening the rules of law, implementing democracy, respects of human rights and the rehabilitation and development of the nation; especially in rescuing and saving people from natural calamities such as the floods in recent year. In this context, RCAF is also playing an important role in strengthening and expanding friendship, solidarity and to have close cooperation with external partners, contributing to the maintenance of security, peace and stability in the region and the world.
Furthermore, we remember that the general elections in 1993 could not bring full peace to the nation and Cambodian. Only at the early 1999 that Cambodian people have enjoyed full national reconciliation, peace, stability and security nation wide for the first time during the last three decades as a result of the “win-win” policy and strong political commitment of the RG and Cambodian people in the process of national reconciliation, without any intervention from outsiders. The national reconciliation has been welcomed and warmly supported mentally, materially and financially from the international communities which have provided adequate opportunity to the Royal Government to move towards successful implementation of its policy programs in demobilizing armed forces that is one of the reform agenda of the RCAF.
Cambodia is indeed greatly proud to end the dark history of wars and internal conflicts, and moreover to dismantle the political and military organization of the Khmer Rouge, which is the aspiration of our people to live in peace, progress, harmony and happiness as well as with equality along with other nations in the region and the world. This full peace could not be obtained without RCAF, which include the infantry, naval and air forces as well as the military police and other specialized units, in fulfilling its core duties. Nowadays, RCAF continues to play an important role in strengthening peace, political stability and in implementing policy program agenda of RGC for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency.
Taking this great opportunity, I would like to express my profound praise to H.E. Co-Minister of Defense and H.E. Chief Commander and Deputy Chief Commander of RCAF who put efforts to make the “New Commanding Headquarter” possible, which we are inaugurating today. I strongly believe that the new achievement will provide benefit and appropriately facilitate RCAF in fulfilling its responsibility to defense the nation in the present and the future.
In this grand occasion of the 51th Anniversary of the RCAF, 9 November 1953 to 9 November 2004, and in order to promote the prestige and preserve the precious tradition of the RCAF, may I urge the Commanders, Officers and soldiers of all institutions and units of RCAF to continue advancing the great achievements for security and socio-economic development by focusing on concrete priorities as follows:
1. Continue the practices according to the roles and duties as stated in the Law on the General Status for Soldiers of the RCAF by exerting highest degree of loyalty and sacrifices for the cause of the nation, religion and the King.
2. Continue to successfully implement the Royal Government’s policy agenda, rectangular strategy and the plan for reform of RCAF on the basis of the national defense policies stated in the “white” national defense book as guidelines. The government continues to implement the reform through program of armed forces demobilization. The program has to implement stage by stage and cautiously to guarantee social stability and well integration of demobilized soldier into society.
3. Continue to enhance the political quality of all soldiers through trainings in psychology, correctly respecting the national laws, disciplines, regulations and military orders, to exercise democracy and protect human rights. As a soldier, you should adopt good behavior and ethics deserving the deep affection of our people.
4. Promote the development of the human resource in the armed forces with profession, invention, responsibility and conscious to effectively assure that the obligations of national development and motherland defense are met.
At the same time, the system of professional military training has to be adjusted to ensure quality and efficiency of their works. The training of professional soldiers are conducted in three categories, combating soldiers, commanding officers and military strategist, who are able to provide basic capability and experiences for all level officers in RCAF.
5. Improve the living standard of soldiers by focusing on building of barracks, health care and additional cultivation in order to help solve problems faced by the limited national budget with the sense of high responsibility and creativity. The strengthening and reorganizing of RCAF have to go along with a well-organized work in order to ensure the provision of needed materials to fulfill the required work. I admit that the government and Ministry of Defense resources do not meet the requirements, but what I want to emphasize that the officers in charge need to have high responsibility and have close cooperation to seek an appropriate solution.
6. Implement strictly the military policies on demobilized and retired militants, deserted and disable militants and the families of defunct and disable soldiers. The military policy is important and affect militants’ motion in fulfilling their missions in nation protection, rehabilitation and development. Furthermore, the Law on Military Duties has to be promoted and created to mobilize military strength so that defense obligation can be assured in according with economic condition and the needs of Ministry of Defense and Commanding Headquarter.
7. The Ministry of Defense, General Staff of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, the Headquarters of the Royal Military Police must coordinate with the Ministry of Interior, Commission-General of the National Police, Commanding Headquarters of Provincial Units and local authorities at al levels to strengthen the suppression on crimes and violations such as: armed robbery, assassination, kidnapping and the suppression and elimination of drug trafficking network, which are the sources of threat to the national security. This is to maintain and strengthen security and public orders and social stability to be further improved. Moreover, the management of explosive materials has to improve through the effort of controlling illegal usage in order to improve public confidence on social security and to prevent terrorism, cross-border crime and other terrorist activities.
8. Continue contributing to the rehabilitation and reparation of social infrastructure and irrigation systems. Especially, the Engineering Unit of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces must take part in closely coordinating with institutions and related authorities in the rehabilitation and rebuilding of physical infrastructure that play important and effectively role to reduce poverty and misery of people.
9. In the coming cold season, we all must help the people, who live close to military base, in harvesting and especially to be ready to rescues people from natural disasters.
10. The RCAF must definitely protect the independence, integrity, territorial sovereignty and neutrality of the Kingdom of Cambodia, to be forever lasting by respecting the basis of the national constitution, United Nation Charters and the international laws. You should strengthen and enhance solidarity, good cooperation with the armed forces of the region, the world and the neighboring countries in order to transform the border areas to be the areas of stability, peace, friendship, cooperation and development. Moreover, as the terrorist organizations become a “hot focus” in the region and the world, thus RCAF shall have the responsibility to cooperate with other countries to combat all kinds of terrorist acts for the common security of mankind in the region and the world.
Before I conclude, may I take this very opportunity to express my deep thanks to the governments and armed forces of our partner countries, national and international organizations, who have supported us, both in mental and material terms, and in the reform of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. I urge all the partners of Cambodia to provide us with generous assistance for the capacity strengthening of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.
Finally, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and my own self, I would like to express my sincere congratulation once again on the 51th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and the inauguration of the commanding head quarter. May I wish all of you, once again, the five gems of Buddhist Blessing.
In contributing to protect the independence, integrity, territorial sovereignty, security, social order and promote socio-economic development for both present and the future, I am happy to declare the opening of this new Commanding Headquarter for RCAF from now on.