… I am glad to return to the district of Aoral once again after my presence at the groundbreaking ceremony in July last year. The road 42 is 54 kilometres long and is composed of 12 bridges with a total length of 357 metres, while few more bridges are being repaired. So it is indeed my joy to see that the work has been completed one year later. Internal integration of Cambodia is a must and yesterday I said so in Takeo at the groundbreaking ceremony to upgrade the national road 2. Cambodia is now a member of ASEAN and integration between old and new member countries of ASEAN is an objective, but first as a country Cambodia has to be fully integrated within itself. It was in this vision that the second-term Royal Government of Cambodia has made great efforts in building roads and bridges so as to connect various rural areas together with highly populated areas. I remember that in 1987 the road was built by the State of Cambodia at the initiation to set up a new district – Aoral, which later became one of the hot battles.
… With the implementation of the win-win policy we have transformed the district of Aoral from a fighting place to a development area. As far as I know in this area, Roleak Kong Choeung is also included, through many previous governments, government control never reach far beyond the road. The area was in fact the central command of the Khmer Rouge before the war in 1970. Khiev Samphan and Ta Mok were here. Before 1970 Cambodia had five different armed forces and between 1970 and 1975, two of the main armed forces fought each other leading to later the regime of genocide. Between 1979 and 1993, Cambodia had four different armed groups in conflict and three of them dissolved their differences in 1993, when a political settlement was reached by the factions in conflict. The Khmer Rouge decided to continue to stay out of national reconciliation. I am grateful for the contribution of Gen. Keo Pung to the win-win policy through the integration of the regiment 18, which was under his command, into the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces in this area.
… The main thrusts of the win-win policy were 1) the guarantee of physical safety for those who disengaged themselves from the Khmer Rouge, 2) the recognition and provision of professional careers and jobs for them, 3) the recognition and guarantee that their properties would not be confiscated, and these are the main elements of a policy that was giving in return safety and security to the region in 1996 and bringing about more defections and reintegration of areas like Samloat, Roleak Kong Choeung, etc. By this time all hotbeds of war have become development areas. The war was over and development has become our common tasks. Though the road was built under the State of Cambodia, the condition had not been regularly good. Travelling on this road was difficult because of road condition and dangerous mining. In his report Gen. Meas Sophea mentioned of 248 UXOs that were discovered in the course of building the road.
… Sacrifices of our military engineering team under the command of Gen. Meas Sophea have been great and in the course of building this road our people have been liberated from the danger of mines and then given de-mined land. One other important benefit is the fact that travelling to and from this area to other places would be quicker and therefore the travel cost would be lower. Our people are mostly not salary earners and therefore reducing expenses from travelling is one of the best options in helping them to save money. As part of our policy to reduce poverty, we have set out the policy of “education for all” since June 10, 2003 and the idea has to be implemented between 2003 and 2015. Our children inscription fee is free now compared to the previous regimes and the Royal Government is imposing no tax on farmland, at least for another ten or fifteen years, so that our people income could be used for other needs.
… As we have good road now, our people in the plain and in Phnom Penh would want to travel up here to see with their own eyes the high-temperature water that is surfacing from underground – Te Toeuk Puh. We have a number of local tourist places where local tourists could enjoy and with good roads Buddhist festivity to collect contribution for local development, whether in pagoda or other infrastructural ones, would be feasible. The road is good not only for the local people and visitors as tourists but also politicians who have to travel through this area in their election campaigns as well. Today is my last day of visiting our people since tomorrow is June 26, the start of the election campaign. I would not take this time to inaugurate any achievements at all. I have stressed many times already that I will not take part in the campaign but my task is to control the situation, maintain stable political atmosphere so that the election could be held in a free, fair, just, non-violent and threat-free and intimidation-free manner.
… In the time of campaign the authorities of all levels have to remain vigilant as bad elements would seek to commit offence or to conduct illegal business such as logging, etc. Aside from this we have to be ready in the case that a short dry season may happen in July, because usually there was one. Some may ask if Hun Sen is a candidate. Yes I am. I have some advises that we all have to perform good action and they will be responded with good result. There is no other action that can replace good action. Therefore I request to my supporters to exercise self-restraint, patience in face of slanders so that our dignity will remain highly appreciative. Yesterday I have issued a declaration of the Royal Government, which one of its articles say “any acts of violence, under whatever forms, will be punished irrespective of rank or position or party affiliation one may have.” We have to evade all forms of violence, rhetorical one is also included.
Samdech Hun Sen offered on that occasion five million Riel each to the pagodas of Muni Udom, Taing Bamporng, three million each to the pagodas of Sangke Trorp, Saluot Meanchei, Ang Samreth, Krasal and four million Riel each to the pagodas of Kantuot and Kao Dauntey, a school building of six classrooms to the Primary School of Aoral, a school building of six classrooms to the people in the commune of Trapeang Chor.