Your Venerable Buddhist Monks,
Your Royal Highness,
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, I am extremely honored and pleased to join all of you to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. This event is organized at such the time, coinciding the fully peaceful period our country is enjoying with social and economic stability, while the building of rules of law, the implementation of democracy, the respect for human rights and the development are being steadily strengthened and expanded.
November 9 becomes a great historical event that links to the establishment of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces fifty years ago, for the cause of national independence, integrity and territorial sovereignty, peace and progress of our nation. The adoption of November 9, which has been a National Independence Day, as the RCAF’s Establishment Day has its special intention. This is to recall the great achievements by our great King, His Majesty NORODOM SIHANOUK, in building the RCAF during his wonderful tenure to demand independence from the French colony in 9 November 1953, when RCAF was established, transforming itself from the then “armed groups of brave Cambodian female soldiers”.
We should note that the celebration of the 50 Anniversary of the establishment of the RCAF is organized at the time,coinciding with our Traditional Water Festival and the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Independence Day(November 9) which will follow one another from 7 to 9 November. In particular, the armed forces and all Cambodian people express their strong support and congratulation for the positive results of the meeting between the three political parties, seeking political solutions involving the functioning of the National Assembly and the formulation of the new Royal Government for its third mandate, which was presided over by His Majesty NORODOM SIHANOUK, the King of Cambodia in the morning of 5 November 2003, yesterday. With this appreciation and active support, we look forward with enthusiasm to the soonest commencement of work of an effective and highly responsible national assembly and the new third mandate Royal Government.
Taking also this opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government and my own self, may I express my gratitude and sincere congratulation to our RCAF’s officers and men for their great sacrifices and efforts to overcome all kinds of difficulties and challenges for the cause of national reconciliation and peace provided to our people and the nation. RCAF has also contributed to the successful implementation of the Royal Government’s policy and reform programs, as well as to the five year plan of the reform of RCAF.
I have listened with interest to the speeches made by HE Tea Banh, Senior Minister and Co-Minister of Defense and HE General Ke Kim Yan, the Chief of the RCAF’s General Staff, reflecting the establishment of RCAF and the brave performance of its historical missions for the cause of independence, integrity and territorial sovereignty, peace and development for the nation and our motherland! On behalf of RGC and my own self, I would like to express my utmost and sincere appreciation to all our officers and soldiers of the RCAF for the great sacrifices they have made.
Moreover, I wish to express my deep gratitude to all our countrymen who have sacrificed their beloved children, spouses and relatives to serve in the RCAF to protect 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 of injured ones staying in the hospitals, and wish them quick recovery and good health!
As you all may know, decades of internal conflicts 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 wisest leadership of His Majesty the 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 and peace and political stability, as well as to actively participate in maintaining social order, strengthening the rules of law, implementing democracy, respects for 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 cooperation with external partners, contributing to the maintenance of security, peace and stability in the region and the world.
Indeed, the general elections in 1993 could not bring full peace to the nation and Cambodian people. Only at the early 1999 that Cambodian people have enjoyed full national reconciliation, peace, stability and security in the entire country for the first time in the last several decades due to the “win-win” policy and strong political commitment of the Royal Government and Cambodian people in the process of national reconciliation, without any intervention from outsiders.
It is our greatest pride to end the dark history of wars and internal conflicts and to successfully prevent the comeback of Khmer Rouge, 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.
Nowadays, while the Kingdom of Cambodia is at full peace, the RCAF, including the infantry, naval and air forces as well as the military police and other specialized units, continues to play an important role in strengthening peace and political stability, and in implementing the agenda of the Royal Government of Cambodia in the development and reducing the poverty among our people. Among all these considerable bold achievements, such as the maintenance of security and social orders including the suppression on terrorism, armed robbery, kidnapping, RCAF has directly and actively contributed to performing the backbone role in support of other government’s institutions in many areas. Those activities include the crackdown on drug trafficking, anarchy and violation in forest exploitation, the suppression on smuggling, the participation in construction of roads and bridges, big and small irrigation systems, wells, schools, hospitals, pagodas, development centers and the clearance of mines freeing lands for our people, and saving our people in the case of natural disasters.
In order to promote the prestige and preserve the precious tradition of the RCAF since 50 years ago and in the grand occasion of the Anniversary of the RCAF, may I urge the Commanders, Officers and soldiers of all institutions and units of RCAF to continue advancing the great achievements gained so far to focus 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 and the plan for reform of RCAF on the basis of the national defense policies stated in the “white” national defense book as a guidelines.
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. Enhance trainings as planned and identified to conduct both inside and outside the country, in order to strengthen and develop the capacity in technical specialization. Promote the development of the human resource in the armed forces with progressive development and strength to assure that the obligations of national and motherland defense are met.
5. Improve the living standard of soldiers by focusing on building of barracks, heath care and additional cultivation in order to help solve problems faced by the limited national budget with the sense of high responsibility and creativity.
6. Implement strictly the military policies on demobilized and retired militants, deserted and disable militants and the families of defunct and disable soldiers.
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.
8. In the coming dry season, you all must help the people in harvesting, in the local areas close to your settled units, especially prepare all the sufficient means and resource to rescue and save people from natural disasters. At the same time, enhance arms management by heightening the control on illegal arms use in order to strengthen public confidence on the stability of our society and shall enhance participation in combating transnational terrorism.
9. 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 infrastructure damaged by wars and natural catastrophes.
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 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.
In closing, 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, may I wish all of you, once again, the five gems of Buddhist Blessing!