Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today I have great pleasure and honor to join you all, leaders, commanders, deputy commanders and representatives of all sections of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) in the closing of the stock-taking workshop on the achievement of five-year work, 2000-2004, and direction for the next five years, 2005-2009, of the RCAF.
I am proud and consider the workshop organized by the Ministry of Defense and Supreme Command Headquarter to be important and as a contribute to the implementation of Policy Agenda and Rectangular Strategy of the third legislative of National Assembly, since the workshop took stock and evaluated the main outcomes attained together by all units of RCAF in the implementation of five-year military reform, 2000-2004, and thoroughly discussed a new direction for the next five-year plan in line with the Royal Government’s policy agenda.
On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and my own self, may I express my sincere applaud to the participants of the workshop that have actively participated and I agree to the stock taking report on RCAF five-year reform, 2000-2004, and next five-year plan, 2005-2009, as well as the evaluation and recommendation from H.E. Tea Banh and H.E. Nhek Bunchai, Deputy Prime Minister and Co-Ministers of National Defense, and H.E. Ke Kim Yan, RCAF Commander in Chief of RCAF. This reflects the historical mission fulfilled by heroic commanders, deputy commanders, military officers, non-commission officers and all sorts of military forces of RCAF in the causes of protecting national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, peace, political stability and development.
The Royal Government of Cambodia expresses warm and honest appreciation to those achievements attained by all units of RCAF for its five-year works. I would like to convey my greeting to handicap militants, hospitalized militants and families of life-sacrificed soldiers and I would like to bless them great happiness.
Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government, the Ministry of Defense and RCAF’s Commander in Chief, I would like to welcome military attaché of friendly countries who are present in this workshop and through them may I express thank to governments, armed forces and people of friendly countries that have supported the reform, development and the strengthening of the RCAF.
If we re-examine the five-year, 2000-2005, RCAF reform, which was disseminated in RCAF conference on 19th April 2000, we can proudly confirm the achievement of the reform; even though we have faced some difficult challenges. During my address to the RACF conference last five years, I notice that the RCAF reform consists of work-axis or two-line work:
First: 55,000 soldiers were demobilized and conformed to the plan.
Second: the strengthening of remaining forces to be disciplined solders by maintaining at an appropriate number with high quality and capacity based on restructuring of administrative structure; strengthening of leadership, giving order trough the chain of command; promoting training, discipline and skill; and reducing size and number of units.
The 2-day workshop highlighted all achievements of the five-year reform. Therefore, I am not going to bring back what have been examined and discussed. However, I would take this opportunity to request commanders, deputy commanders, military officers, non-commission officers and all sorts of military forces of RCAF to continue your efforts to expand the achievements by concentrating on the following practical works:
First – Continuing the implementation of Policy Agenda and Rectangular Strategy of the Royal Government, the plan of RCAF reform based on Defense White Paper as a compass for concepts and general status for militant of RCAF, and some realistic strategies of the Royal Government’s policy in national defense.
Second – Enhancing the political spirit of all militants through psychological training in particular from the mini-book on 8 must and 6 must not rules in order to build up motional principle, to strictly follow discipline, to be courageous in all circumstances for the sake of motherland, and to respect laws of the nation, military regulations and commands, democracy doctrine, human rights, high morality and dignity and the respect of civil people.
Third – All soldiers have to be neutral to politics in their duties in which they must not serve any political activity by using its duties and state’s military equipment as stipulated in general status of RCAF. We must continue to restructure the forces, structure, rank and position as well as strengthening efficiency of commanding.
Fourth – Promoting training both inside and outside the country as planned in human resources development to transform RCAF to be professional aiming at developing capacity in commanding, strategies, tactics and technical skills.
Fifth – Continuing to ensure the supplies to RCAF such as uniform, fuel and medicines as determined and based on actual ability of the Royal Government with high responsibility and active innovation. It should be combined with cultivations to elevate living standard and health care of each militant. At the same time, we should pay attention on building military bases and appropriate infrastructure network in each institution and all units based on the state budget, the domestic and international fund mobilization and the affordability of the units.
Sixth – Continuing to implement the government’s policy to sacrificed and handicap, demobilized, retire and lost-capable soldiers. The policy work is really important and it can have an impact political commitment and mission’s fulfillment of RCAF. Within this framework, we should continue to pay attention on professional training and creating favorable condition to improve the living standard of demobilized soldiers who have been reintegrated back into civil society. In this regard, all ministries, institutions and relevant units must put all-out efforts and close cooperation to effectively tackle soldiers’ political regime.
Seventh – Keep going to strengthen the national defending arrangement, especially along borders by connecting the national defense to the economic development, paying attention on building up boundary defending armed forces and organizing people living along the borders in order to develop those areas as much as possible.
Eight – All institutions and units of the RCAF must keep cooperating with the national police, municipal-provincial headquarters and all level of authorities in order to protect public security and order through contributing to fight against crimes and offenses, such as armed robbery, murder, kidnapping, cutting crime network, drug smuggling, women and child trafficking, money laundering, deforestation, land encroachment, natural resources over exploitation, cultural heritage destruction, and immoral culture dissemination. For achieving these tasks, all military unit of the RCAF need to:
1. Tightening the managing and controlling explosive weapons; seizing and taking legal measures on trading weapons smugglers to build people trust in social security and social stability; and especially participating in enforcing the Law on Management, Using, Trading, and Transporting Weapons that recently adopted by the National Assembly and submitted to the Senate.
2. Cooperating with local authorities and all competent authorities to strictly and constantly remove all form of illegal check points, or is called Kongtrol Chor Chous, that affects the rights of people and economy of our country.
3. Focusing seriously on cracking down offends on the sea and to protect natural resources in seabed.
4. Strengthening cooperation with national and international communities to prevent anarchy acts, terrorism and transnational crimes and to strictly prevent existing of political organization and illegal military forces that is a source of serious threatening to national security aiming at maintaining and strengthening to betterment security, public orders, social stability, and common security of human being in the world.
Ninth – Continuing to contribute to the establishment of infrastructure, transportation systems such as bridges and roads to be in connection of all corner of Kingdom of Cambodia and to connect to the neighboring countries. This is a most affective way reduce poverty and difficulties of our people. Moreover, engineering unit of the RCAF has to pursuit the close cooperation with the specialized institutions in rehabilitation and reconstruction the infrastructure and irrigation system, which were severe damaged by wars and natural disasters.
Tenth – Continuing to cooperate to clear land-mine for preventing people from mine accidents and making paddy fields available for the people to cultivate.
Meanwhile, we have to regularly reserve men, means and materials as well as capacity development training to timely and effectively rescue the people upon the occurring of natural disaster such as flood and drought. Furthermore, on behalf of Royal Government of Cambodia may I request our RCAF do not involve in any conflict with the people regarding land issues. For instance, if there were conflict between military and people on paddy fields, I would give that land to the people, who are landless for them to cultivate while military have to assist them. This is suitable to the word goes “the soldiers are the people’s child”
Eleventh – In order to bolster the strengthening of the spirit of solidarity and support for the armed forces, I have decided to bind good coalition between the state, all armed unities and state-owned enterprises as well as between local authorities and all armed unities. For this matter, I urge all state institutions and armed unities to effectively implement this measure.
Twelfth – Having to strengthen the unity and good cooperation with neighboring armies in the region and the world basing on the principles of equity, independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity for the mutual benefits and developing economy, technique and science. Continue to turn boundary line areas to be the centers of peace, unity, cooperation and development. In case the conflicts appear, we should together solve by basing on the principles of law and peaceful mean.
RCAF needs the assistances from others countries and international community in various fields. This is not only benefit to the soldiers, but contribute to national reconstruction. It needs to be ready to participate in peacekeeping cooperation in United Nation framework. Royal Government’s essential goals in the third term of legislative is the gradual reconstructions of a Cambodian society disposing of peace, stability, social order, firm democratic practice, human right and dignity, sustainable development and equity, connecting cells, high educated people and culture of dignity, good standard of living and harmonious life both in family and society.
In this spirit, the Royal Government holds firmly the solidarity and unity policy in order to mobilize the whole national forces from all strata, all political tendencies both internal and external countries under the motto of <<Nation, Religion, King>> to solely gather by targeting to reconstruction, national defense and social achievement of the Kingdom of Cambodia in the context of national independence, sovereignty, territorial solidarity, peace, democracy and prosperity. Political agenda and Royal Government’s triangle strategy are designed by basing upon national poverty reduction strategy, second economic and social development plan and Cambodia’s millennium development goals, which serves as the road map for action plan and the measurement of government’s outcomes toward the essential targets. Rectangle Strategy has clearly defined the peace strengthening and keeping, political stability and social order, which is a part of triangle strategy implementation’s environment. Good governance is internal core, while the military reform in generally RCAF reform and in particular part of good governance. Besides, this reform is designed not only for the sharp, but is targeted to deeply operate in order to enhance the quality and effectiveness of all fields.
I would like to bold out that the implementation of five-year reform program 2000-2004 of the Royal Armed Forces (RAF) has been greatly achieved in strengthening and reforming the RAF structure. Nonetheless, there remain challenges ahead of us that we need to confront and resolve such as: demobilization, building up defense capacity at border lines, cracking down delinquency and crimes, preparing organization and improving roles, duties, psychological education, training, ensured budget and technical equipments as well as improving soldiers’ livelihood, especially their limited salary.
For this reason, the Ministry of Defense, and the General Headquarters of the Armed Forces must continue to overcome difficulties and mobilize forces to implement the strategic reform plan of the RAF in the years to come and to achieve the following targets:
1. Continue to clearly verify soldiers’ enrollment and implement demobilization process as planned by coordinating with the Cambodian Council for Demobilization of the Armed Forces, concerned institutions and international organizations.
2. Continue to build and strengthen the RAF to become an united national army with adequate enrollment and sufficient capacity in order to defend our independence, sovereignty and full territorial integrity, to defend all achievements of our nation, the constitution and the people. The RAF will become the strong force that actively contributes to re-building our nation, rescuing people in time of disasters and is ready in case of need to join the peace keeping force of the United Nations.
In short, what I have stated as recommendations above reflect well the main achievements of the RAF from the last five years and they bold out challenges and tasks that are laid down ahead of us in a long journey to overcome. In this sense, I urge the management of the Ministry of National Defense, the General Headquarters of the RAF, commanders at all level and soldiers to bring their physical and mental efforts in successfully implementing the targets set forth in the five-year plan 2005-2009. At the same time, I urge all ministries and institutions of the RG, especially representatives of ministries and institutions today present in this workshop to closely coordinate with each other and support the RAF in achieving their noble duty by considering the RAF as our family and servant. This is for the righteous interest of our nation and people. In the end, I wish you all, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, the five Gems of Buddhist blessing.