On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and my own behalf I wish to express my congratulations and high sense of responsibility in national policy leadership for the cause of peace, stability, prosperity and wellbeing for the people of Cambodia at the time of the celebration of the International Peace Day.
I would like to express my pleasure in high national pride for taking part to congratulate the International Peace Day (International Peace Day) with other Governments in the world for the cause of reducing and preventing grisly war situation everywhere.
The 55th UN Assembly adopted a resolution on September 28, 2001 setting September 21 as a date for all countries to celebrate International Peace Day. At the same time, the UN resolution also appealed to all its country members as well as institutions in the UN system, regional and non-governmental organizations to observe the September-21 International Peace Day aimed at educating our people and raising public awareness on the meaning and price of peace while cooperating in putting an end to armed clashes and violent acts throughout the world.
In this spirit, September-21 has become a date that people all over the world, Cambodia included, together celebrate the International Peace Day with great significance of humanity especially for the people of Cambodia, who have gone through almost three decades of war after suffering a serious and bitter experience of family separation, destruction, poverty and misery.
Protracted war and genocide that lasted close to three decades destroyed infrastructure that was the blood veins of the country, causing misery and family separation to the Cambodian people. Having had such bitter experiences every Cambodian wishes to achieve a true peace in order to bring about a true happiness and prosperity. Responding to this sacred wish, the Royal Government of Cambodia tried its best in the past to put an end to internal strife implementing the self-developed “win-win” policy without external instruction and pressure while realizing peace, national reconciliation and full national unity for the country and people in the late 1998, after a complete fall of the Khmer Rouge political and military organization.
It is true that in the past eight years, the country and people of Cambodia have been enjoying peace, political stability and fast economic growth. At the same time, the hard-won peace, political stability, safety, public order and firm security environment have all continued their roles as the most important preconditions allowing Cambodia to materialize national economic and social potential. Furthermore, peace and political stability offer opportunity for the Royal Government to be with the people, who have full freedom, safety in traveling also included.
In this context, the Royal Government of Cambodia clearly understands about its role in safeguarding a long-term stability and political peace. It is true that putting a complete end and in a peaceful way to war and national division was a difficult thing to achieve. However, maintaining peace and further strengthening a culture of peace would indeed be a harder task to fulfill. I am of the conviction that together with a history of war destruction that every Cambodian encountered in the past, they all are determined to safeguard a lasting peace. This means that because they understand full well the price of peace, our people would wish that people of all races in the world to also understand the nature of peace and national unity like we Cambodian do.
It is in this framework that the Royal Government as well as every Cambodian must make further efforts aimed at strengthening and disseminating widely the understanding of important factors that are the foundations of peace, that is raising awareness of a culture of non-violence, patience and forgiveness, no illegal use of weapons, peaceful conflict resolution, etc. Therefore, joining in celebrating International Peace Day not only reflects a strong and sharp will of the people of Cambodia in enhancing peace but also fosters opportunity to remind us all of the necessity for maintaining to full maximum the current peace that we have in Cambodia while taking contributory part in seeking peace in the whole world.
Also in this thinking that the Royal Government decided to grant support to the resolution of the UN assembly as proposed by the Republic of India for the celebration of International Non-Violence Day (INVD) on October 2, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the non-violence campaign, who had struggle for many years to bring national independence to India in 1947.
Furthermore, with the goodwill in safeguarding peace in the world, the Royal Government actively joining in putting out initiatives and actions aimed at preventing violence and war. To mention some of them, the Royal Government sends its de-miners to Sudan, while being a party to treaties, conventions and protocols, as follows:
- Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
- Convention and Protocol Prohibiting the Proliferation, Stocking and Use of Mines, Chemical and Biological Weapons
- Convention and Protocol on Anti-Terrorism
- Protocol on Prevention and Curbing of Circulation of Illegal Small Arms
On the basis of peace and stability which is growing stronger day after day the Royal Government urges decisive implementation of reforms in all fields within the framework of the “Rectangular Strategy” for growth, employment, equity and efficiency and the “Strategic Plan for National Development” (SPND). These efforts are taking root deeply into the socio-economic foundation of Cambodia and would result in a speedy progress for national economy.
As a matter of fact, after Cambodia realized a complete peace in 1999, despite challenging problems in regional and world economic context coupled with unfavorable natural condition in certain parts of the country, the Cambodian economy could draw together dynamics to achieve an average growth rate of 9.4% per annum from 2000 to 2006. In the last three years the average growth rate jumped up unprecedented high at 11.4%. Take for instance in 2005, the economic growth took the rate of 13.5%, while in 2006 10.8%. Per capita income per annum has almost doubled from US$ 288 in 2000 to US$ 513 in 2006. We have been able to maintain inflation at a rate below average of 3% in between 2000 and 2006. The exchange rate has also been stabilized. For the same period, foreign reserve of the country increased more than double from roughly 500 million US dollars to one billion in 2006. In 2007, the economic growth has been predicted to achieve a rate of around 9%. Inflation rate would continue to stay below 5%. Exchange rate would go on to be stable in general. Foreign reserve would continue to increase and guarantee three-month imports.
At the same time the Royal Government would make stronger efforts to strengthen the spirit of culture of peace for a sustainable development and prosperity in Cambodia while taking active part with international community for peace, prosperity and happiness of the whole world.
To this end I would like to take this opportune moment to place an appeal to my compatriots together with international, social and civil organizations in Cambodia as well as in the world to work together for an excellent and wide ranging celebration of International Peace Day in the cause of peace in Cambodia as well as in the whole world.