… Today I have a great pleasure to join with you all in the inauguration of this temple in the Tbeng Khpuos pagoda as well as to have an opportunity to meet with our people in the district of Samaki Mean Chei who have come to celebrate the inauguration. I am very proud that I will be holding a stick in hands in cutting the ribbon to inaugurate the temple as doing this I would be considered a good man who would not bring bad omen to the pagoda at all. I wish to express my sincere thanks to all of the charitable people, both in and outside the country, as well as some non-government organizations’ officials, for their contributions in making this temple possible and inaugurated now.
… According to report by HE Governor of Kompong Chhnang Su Phirin and other researches, the pagoda of Tbeng Khpuos is now 170 years old, or thirty years before the arrival of the French colony. The pagoda has gone through various stages of reconstruction with former venerable Bu Tith and four others and with the current head monk Khem Lo. The latest period of construction stretched between 1991 and 2003, and HE Uk Rabun and the CPP work team in this province have become the leading contributors. In the old days this place is known to be shelters of tigers and elephants, and gradually it has turned out to be human settlements despites the fact that this area was destroyed to complete ashes by Pol Pot’s, under whose regime religions of all types – Buddhism, Christian and Muslim – were smashed.
… If we were to look back in our history, since after Hluong Preah Sdech Kan killed HM Sdech Srey Sokun Bat, Cambodia was never a united country, and I mean Cambodia was never ruled by one Government at all. In the later chapter of our history, before the war broke out in 1970s, in Cambodia there were five different groups – namely the white, red, blue, pink and Government forces. Between 1970 and 1975, there were two main groups in fight against each other with the supports of foreign countries. In between 1975 and 1979, Pol Pot regime caused destructions to both materials and lives of our people, while there were many struggle forces. Between 1979 and 1991, when the country already reached the Paris Peace Agreement, there were four different armed forces. Between 1993 and 1998 there remained two armed forces – that of the Royal Government and the other was the Khmer Rouge along the Thai-Cambodian border. Only in 1998 that Cambodia became a united country with only single forces and there were no frontiers of internal separations… As the name of the district signifies – Samaki Mean Chei or be victorious for unity – so it means.
… It is not only the case of a village or a country, in a pagoda or a family, if there is a conflict among its members, like between venerable head monks and parishioners, the pagoda would not be making any progress at all. The only way for such a progress to be made would be to unite to survive together. In this term of Government I have a great pleasure to note that there is this unity between the two political parties in the coalition government. This unity has brought about stable livelihood for our people – of course in includes both those who support and who oppose me and Samdech Krom Preah. I wish to stress that as long as I remain Prime Minister everyone, both supporters and opponents, could survive in peace. Peace that we attain with great hardship will be safeguarded for the sake of development.
… Our people are in close watch of what is going to happen to the strain of relations between Thailand and Cambodia. May I take this opportunity to say a few things in this regards. I have made many statements – in Kompot and Siemreap provinces related to the Thai-Cambodian relations after the incident on January 29, 2003 in Phnom Penh. Regarding the provisional border closure, I wish to express my sincere thanks to the people of Cambodia, the authorities at all levels and the armed forces for the supports they rendered to the Royal Government for being calm and refraining from causing instability in the Thai-Cambodian relations, while letting the Royal Government to settle all conflicts. There has been no armed confrontation in this regards and the war of words also appears to have come under control. I wish to take this opportunity to thank and appreciate the position as taken by the Royal Government of Thailand, especially by HE Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, HE Deputy Prime Minister Chhavalit Yungchhaiyuth and Thai Foreign Minister Surakiet, in preparation for a negotiation to normalize the relations between Cambodia and Thailand. What is remarkable here is that the gap has shrunk to very small and the process for the negotiation has also approached. There is no other philosophy to bring settlement to the issue other than peaceful means. And both sides have sought a solution for the problem by using no forces or rhetorical means.
… I am sending this message to HE Prime Minister and other leaders in the Royal Government of Thailand and to welcome any initiatives they may have for the normalization of relations between Thailand and Cambodia. Cambodia and Thailand are living alongside of one another not in one or two years to come, but geographically forever. One other factor that justifies our move to open negotiation is to save the image of ASEAN. As its members, we have to have understanding, solidarity and cooperation. This would also save ASEAN plan for an integration of ASEAN and its partner countries through the construction of Kunminh-SIngapore Rail. The same is also true for the implementation of the Greater Sub-Mekong Region. Some people said that Cambodia closed the border with Thailand because Cambodia wants to avoid from the duty of paying the Thai for the damage caused on the Thai Embassy. I think this remark is scornful on the Cambodian nation and this conclusion is unacceptable. Payment to be made on the damage of the Thai Embassy is a responsibility to be fulfilled and the border closure is a different issue. I wish to mention that the drug campaign in Thailand is totally Thai internal affairs and the Royal Government of Thailand has full authority to take necessary measures in this matter. Cambodia would not at all interfere in this affairs and what we were concerned was the involvement of Cambodians in this campaign. In fact Cambodia also benefits from the campaign as there will be less or no drugs sold in Cambodia, for the producers have been smashed.
… Last night I have instructed for a diplomatic note to be written and handed over to the Thai Embassy as yesterday our Chargé d’Affair in Thailsnad received a diplomatic note from the Thai authority. Our response has requested the Thai Government to provide us their account number as soon as they can so that Cambodia could transfer the payment. The amount requested for payment is over US$ 5.9 and I have been waiting for this hour to respond as I saw in Channel News Asia running a caption that “Phnom Penh cannot pay.” We will seek no reduction, not even a single cent as we have issued our firm statement already on January 30, 2003 that we would cover the cost without condition for the damages caused on Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh. We have to pay them back and this is our honour and dignity. In Khmer we say “a broken bamboo stick must be replaced by a bamboo stick, a said word could not be replaced” or “word is first, number is second and letter is third.” So we pay them back as soon as we get the account number.
… We have spent lots of money for the flood and drought relief in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Now a large sum of money has to be spent for the payment of the damage of the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh. A small group of extremists caused destruction while the whole nation has to pay. We have to find out who is behind this and because of this we could not accept the request to release the accused. Some members of parliament said Prime Minister Hun Sen should read the constitution as HM the King has the rights to provide amnesty…” I have no rejection to this article but these people are not convicted but accused only. So they should learn more on this. HM the King could provide amnesty to those convicted at the request of the Royal Government but they have not been tried yet… The press asked me yesterday if I am ready to negotiate and I said yes I am ready. And I was asked I was the first to want a negotiation and I said both side want it. No one could make this happen if the other side remain disengaged. It is a common point as the two countries wanted to build a border line of peace, friendship and cooperation with mutual interest for both sides on the basis of respect of national independence, sovereignty and equal relations. As for the Thai companies who requested for payment from the Royal Government, we will have to compare their request figures with those generated and archived in Cambodia Development Council (CDC). Those with insurance will have to let their insurance companies to work with the respective authority of the Government.
In that occasion Samdech Hun Sen has offered the venerable monk and parishioners of the Tbeng Khpuos pagoda US$ 2,000 for the payment of the due debt in the construction of the temple, the venerable monk and Buddhist parishioners of Preah Noreay pagoda Riel ten million for the continuing construction of a Buddhist temple, Riel ten million to the pagoda of Chambak for the construction of a dining hall, Riel 20 million for the Khyang Choeung pagoda for the construction of a Buddhist temple. Roleang Meak pagoda, was provided with five tons of cement and one ton of iron, Kraing Sromo was offered five tons of cement for the finishing the construction of a common hall and Tropeang Mtes pagoda was given ten million Riel for the construction of a Buddhist temple. Toeuk Khmao pagoda was given five million Riel and Preah Thiet was offered with five tons of cement and 75 cases of flooring tiles. Soriyavong pagoda was given five tons of cement and one ton of iron, the pagoda of Btum Raingsey was given ten million Riel for the construction of a Buddhist temple. Five tons of cement and one ton of iron were given to the pagoda of Chetnaram, five million Riel each was given to Utumpor pagoda and Boeung Khnar pagodas and three million to Ke Reasmey pagoda. Two tons of cement and one million Riel was given to a Muslim community for the construction of a mosque and one school building with five classrooms was offered for the Primary school of Tbeng Khpuos and three school buildings of fifteen classrooms were offered to the Primary School of Krain Sromo…