Your Excellency NGUYEN TAN DUNG, Chair of the Meeting,
Your Excellency BOUASONE BOUPHAVANH,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, I wish to highly appreciate the Vietnamese Government for making excellent arrangements for this Summit Meeting. I would like also to deeply thank His Excellency Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, the Government of Vietnam and the Vietnamese people for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to the Cambodian delegation during this important meeting.
During the Summit of the Prime Ministers of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, held in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, in November 2004, we adopted «the Socio-Economic Development Master Plan of Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Development Triangle».
Therefore, during this summit we should focus on institutional arrangements and evaluation of project implementation, as well as setting new directions for our cooperation in the medium and long-term, especially the preparation for our forthcoming meeting with the Prime Minister of Japan.
I would like to commend and sincerely thank the government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) for making efforts in implementing several projects of critical importance for our triangle areas.
May I highlight the importance of the following projects:
First, Road linkages: As His Excellency the Prime Minister of Vietnam has said linking Route No 78 Banloung-O Yadav of Mondulkiri Province to Gia Lai Province of Vietnam and linking the Route No 18B in Attapeu Province of the Lao PDR to Vietnam will create economic opportunities for the Triangle Areas and will enable all three countries to rapidly develop these highlands with great potentials. These road infrastructures will serve as vital economic arteries facilitating trade, transport and tourism among our three countries.
Second, Power sector: The feasibility study on the construction of a hydro-power station on the Sesan River in Cambodia, the connections of power transmission lines and the promotion of power trade in the Triangle Areas constitute sine qua nonconditions for the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), especially the processing of agricultural products and mineral exploitation in the triangle area. Cambodia welcomes the Vietnamese companies willing to invest in hydro-power stations on the Sesan River. Cambodia will provide incentives as stipulated in the existing laws. To accelerate social and economic development in the triangle region, I would like to solicit the Vietnamese side to set low, affordable tariffs of electricity to facilitate Cambodian provincial authorities to purchase electricity from Vietnam and widely use for creating opportunities for social and economic development. At the same time, I believe that we should pay our attention to a new area of cooperation, i.e. the development of crops for bio-diesel.
Third, tourism development and environmental conservation: The triangle areas are endowed with eco-tourism potentials. However, to fully utilize this potential we should provide infrastructure, create attractiveness by streamlining administrative procedures for investors and attract visitors to come to our Triangle Areas. There is no doubt that environmental conservation, especially the protection of our pristine forests, flora and fauna in this area also requires our attention.
Fourth, Agriculture and Trade: I welcome Vietnamese companies investing in rubber plantations in Oyadav, Rattanakiri Province in order to boost the export of rubber and other agricultural products. This mutually beneficial cooperation will promote technology transfer, the sharing of seeds, planting, management techniques and market information, thus creating employment and generating income for farmers and their families. This will effectively contribute to poverty reduction among our people. The construction of the border market at Oyadav will expand and increase the volume of cross-border trade, which has been considered as one of the eight priority sectors of our Royal Government’s policy and promote development conducive to poverty reduction.
Fifth, Human Resource Development: Human resource development is of utmost importance for promoting socio-economic development of the Triangle Areas. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Government of Vietnam for building a dormitory for the Cambodian students at the Tay Nguyen University and for the construction of Vocational Training Schools in Rattanakiri and Mondulkiri Provinces trough the provision of grants. In general, I believe that promoting the cooperation in education and health is crucial for reducing poverty of the people living in the Triangle Area.
Effective institutional arrangements will play a determining role in promoting cooperation in all areas in the Triangle Area. To ensure consistency with the cooperation under the ASEAN framework, I would like to propose that the Economic Ministers of our three countries to be in charge of cooperation in the Triangle Area and to be Co-Chairs of «The Joint Commission for the Coordination of CLV Cooperation for the Development of the Triangle Area». At the same time, I welcome Vietnam’s initiative to host the first meeting of the Joint Commission in 2007. I would like to suggest that the first meeting of the Joint Commission will consider and adopt the establishment of any technical mechanism for promoting our cooperation. The important point that our Ministers should pay attention is to focus on efficiency and performance rather than to have more meetings.
At the same time, we should acknowledge that securing adequate funding is key to promoting the cooperation in the triangle area. Overall, our efforts to upgrade basic physical infrastructure, such as roads, water supply, power and telecommunications constitutes sine qua non conditions for attracting private investments to the triangle areas. However, precaution is required, as these areas are inhabited by the ethnic minority groups of our three countries, with their own special cultures and traditions and can be a very sensitive issue. Therefore, in every effort that we have made to promote the development of this area should take into consideration the specific conditions of these ethnic minority groups. Otherwise, we will face with many difficult consequences, including the negative effect on social and political stability.
I share the view that we must adopt a common position to raise with the Prime Minister of Japan, H.E. Shinzo Abe, at the forthcoming ASEAN Summit. While submitting a few more projects to get his support, we should remind our Japanese partner to consider their participation and to provide financial support for the 12 priority projects that were submitted during the CLV Summit with Japan held in Kuala Lumpur last year. To facilitate cooperation with Japan, I propose that a meeting of the CLV Plus Japan Expert Group be convened in Cambodia in 2007 in order to enable our cooperation with Japan to achieve fruitful results.
I believe that with our whole-hearted commitment to cooperation we will be able to promote social and economic development and reduce poverty by transforming the Triangular Development Areas into an epicenter of growth and prosperity for our three countries. This will also contribute to our national efforts in development and ASEAN integration at large. Thank you for your kind attention.