… Today I have a great pleasure to join with all of our people and monks in the province of Preah Vihear for putting into use the road 69B, which is the longest in the Kingdom of Cambodia. I wish to express my sincere appreciation as well to the presence of our guests from the province of Sisaket of the Kingdom of Thailand on this occasion which reflects clearly good relations of friendship and cooperation between our two countries. What impresses me the most is the fact that thanks to joint efforts between our people and the military engineering team under the general staff we have realized the longest rural road that is 221 kilometres from Udor Meanchey (province) to (the province of) Preah Vihear. Within this length we also have built 86 bridges, 84 of which are Bailey. We also inaugurate today the bridge over the Takoeung tributary that we have now named the Sen Monorom Bridge on the part of road built under thesupport of the Municipality of Phnom Penh to the province of Preah Vihear.
… I would say that all this is a starting point in our efforts after a protracted war which made Preah Vihear a place in difficulty to get assistance. However, the province never gets out of my sight for once. Under the State of Cambodia we had moved the provincial town to three different places until we got to this current one – in 1979, the provincial town was in the district of Chhem, in 1980 in the district of Roveang and in 1981, it was moved to the district of Tbeng Meanchey and it has stayed there ever since. I also ask our people for an understanding as the central Government in the past had taken their provincial leaders – HE Ney Pena who was then offered the post of Minister of Interior, HE Khoi Khun Huor who was then offered the post of Head of the Central Commission for Propaganda and Education in Phnom Penh. HE Sok Samheng was serving our people in Preah Vihear at a longer time because he was both Governor and member of the National Assembly. We now have HE Preap Tan as Governor.
… After our country implemented the win-win policy that put an end to the war, the landlocked situation of Preah Vihear was over. The opportunity has brought us possibility to build physical infrastructures, which would bear positive effects on our people’s living condition and poverty alleviation. In my personal vision, resolving the issue of roads by connecting one region to another or in other words by integrating internal islets inside the country would in fact be contributing to the reduction of poverty. We have three priorities – water, roads and bridges and schools (human resources training). Take for instance we have approved the provincial need for road connection so we have built the unprecedented longest rural road the 84 Bailey bridges. I wish to express my sincere thanks to the general staff and HE Gen. Ke Kin Yan and his leadership team for the efforts they exerted in 452 days in a condition of malaria and mines for the plan to be implemented. As far as mine is concerned the military engineering team de-mined a total area of 7,265,350 square meters and destroyed 2,515 mines and unexploded ordinance.
… The sacrifice of our military engineering team has been remarkable as they have to overcome all sorts of obstacles to get my order implemented, whether mines or malaria. They spent their lives in the forest during the war time, and in peace time they continued to do so for the country’s reconstruction efforts. Their efforts as sons of our people and country have made me proud, and thanks on this occasion also go to related institutions – the Ministries of Rural Development, Public Works and Transports, Economy and Finance, those creating a favourable condition for the team to attain such a success for our country. I specially thank the Municipality of Phnom Penh, from HE Mayor Chea Sophara to the current mayor, HE Kep Chuktema, for the efforts in contribution to the construction of road through the Takoeung or Sen Monorom Bridge to the mountain’s edge leading to the Preah Vihear temple on the top. I wish to express in this regard my sincere thanks to the People’s Republic of China for the provision of Bailey that we could bridge all gaps along this road. We have used up to 1782 meters of Bailey in this operation. Otherwise we might have to chop a lot of trees in our forest to build fast rotten bridges, while the Bailey would last up to 50 or 60 years. I also thank the Republic of Korea for the offer of engineering equipments when I visited the country, which has been used to build road from Banteay Srey (in Siemreap) to Anlong Veng (in Preah Vihear).
… Preah Vihear shares a long internal frontier with the provinces of Stoeung Treng, Kompong Thom, Udor Mean Chey and Siemreap, and 129 kilometres of border with Thailand and 140 kilometres with Laos. We have been thinking of a project that could be named an Emerald Triangle, which means that there has to be a cooperation for development in this area by three countries involved – Cambodia, Thailand and Laos. Foreign ministers of the three countries are preparing for a meeting on this issue in the province of Champasak or Pakse in Laos. The project would involve two provinces of Thailand – Sisaket and Ubun, while Laos would involve the province of Champasak. As far as the Emerald Triangle concept is concerned, on the Thai and Lao parts, they have good road conditions leading to the area already. Last night I talked to Lady Minister of Health of Thailand who had been delegated by HE Prime Minister of Thailand the power to determine which date would be suitable for the two countries to celebrate a groundbreaking ceremony of the construction as donation from Thailand the national road 48, linking Koh Kong and Sre Ampel, which includes also 4 large bridges. We have set the date for July 21, 2003 for this section of road and we have one other asphalted road that links between the Sa Ngam pass and Anlong Veng and from there to Banteay Srey. In this respect, the province of Sisaket would be able to send in their tourists to Siemreap.
… We have also permitted our people to cross between our two countries without having to require for visas as border cards would in fact be accepted. From Cambodia, our people could go into Thailand with a border card and length of stay would be decided at the border post, and Thai people could also enter Cambodia up to Siemreap in the same manner. In the recent joint cabinet retreat of Cambodia and Thailand, we have signed a document that keeps the Preah Vihear pass for walking tourists. We should look at the Tathao pass as a pass for trade, transportation and investment. If we are committed to the Emerald Triangle plan we have to betterment our infrastructures. As we have done a good number of progresses with Thailand, we also have to do the same with Laos. Good bilateral relations would lead to favourable conditions in the efforts to get the Emerald Triangle plan implemented. We may have to extend the triangle to quadrangle plan as we already have triangle plan among Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam and now another triangle is in the making, then a quadrangle plan would also be a possibility.
… In this regard I would ask HE Governor Preap Tan of of Preah Vihear and his counterpart from Ubun of Thailand to discuss and submit our request for Thailand to build a 35 kilometres road from the An Seh pass to the provincial town of Chuam Khsaan. I would ask the same to the Governor of Sisaket to think of the possibility of building another road to Anlong Veng and Banteay Srey… We have to seek all means in making our borders with neighbouring countries peaceful, friendly and cooperative for the prosperity of our people… With our achievement today the people of Preah Vihear could travel by two different ways to Siemreap. First they could take the road number 12 to Kompong Thom and continue to Siemreap and second they could take the road to Anlong Veng and on to Banteay Srey in Siemreap. I wish to thank all international organizations that are providing assistances in de-mining to save our people from mine threats and to liberate land from mines for our people’s cultivation.
Samdech Hun Sen on that occasion offered ten million Riel to the pagoda of Prasat Chey Proeuk, five million Riel each to the pagodas of Andet, Purseilaram and Porpul, ten million Riel to the Srayong Thmei Mosque, a school building of six classrooms to the Junior College of Chuam Khsaan, a school building of six classrooms to the commune of Kantuot of Chuam Khsaan, a school building of six classrooms to the Junior College of Kulen, a school building of six classrooms to the Junior College of Chei Sen, a school building of six classrooms to the Junior College of Chheb, a school building of six classrooms to the Primary School of Phnom Tbeng, a school building of six classrooms to the Primary School of Bankoeun Phal, a school building of six classrooms, a sewing class building, a set of computers and generator to the College of Tbeng Mean Chei, a sewing class building, a set of computers and generator to the Junior College of Tbeng Mean Chei, 25 tons of rice for labour to the Primary School of Samdech Chea Sim-Saang Tasu, and 150,000 Riel each for 143 pedagogical teachers and students of Preah Vihear for an excursion tour to the Sihanoukville.