In addition to the prepared speech, at the graduation ceremony at the University of Chamroeun Polytechnics, Samdech Hun Sen also gave additional comments on issues of negative comments made by Heraldo Munoz, Head of the UN Security Council Committee on Al Qaeda, from which the Cambodia New Vision has selected and translated for posting as follows:
…With regard to the issue of security please allow me to make some impression as in the last few days there have been comments made by an official of the United Nations upon his departure from Cambodia, with whom he worked in Cambodia I do not know. He claimed that Cambodia could become a safe haven for terrorists. In fact I should not make any comments on such a person but I think it is important to clarify the issue. The Ministry of Interior has already made an explanation and Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranaridh, President of the National Assembly also covered this issue yesterday. As far as I know the person is the Chilean Ambassador to the United Nations.
… His remark was that Cambodia need to have anti-terrorist legislation so that it can fight against terrorism. I may ask him a question here: some countries already have anti-terrorist laws and why are they subjected to bombings in the centre of cities? Take for instance the United States of America is the biggest country in the fight against terrorism and terrorist activities have taken place in their territory – the attack on the World Trade Centre, and what happened in Indonesia? Cambodia does not yet experience such terrorist actions that cause so serious damages. So the issue here does not depend on whether one has or has not got the anti-terrorist legislation at all, but on competence to prevent terrorist activities or not.
… May I send a message today to the United Nations’ Security Council that attention should be made with countries with existing anti-terrorist laws because terrorist actions have taken place in those countries rather than elsewhere. I cannot accept the comments of Mr. Chilean Ambassador to the United Nations and Head of the UN Security Council Committee on Al Qaeda that “Cambodia will become a breeding ground for terrorism.” We have brought full peace to this country while the United Nations Transitional Authority for Cambodia (UNTAC) could not achieve it with over US$ 2 billion. As of now, with our own efforts, border areas have all been transformed into development areas.
…I would recommend the United Nations choose officials with sufficient knowledge. So I think the United Nations should not make use of a man like him. I would take his comments as groundless and endangering, which cannot be acceptable. This comment would cause Cambodia serious loss of investments, but I am sure people out there are not that stupid as he is. I would just rebuke that if one find oneself incompetent, one should not think that everyone is so the same. How could he come to Cambodia and underrate us all? We do not have the anti-terrorist law yet but all-out efforts have been made to show to the world that we are competent in this matter. Take for instance information leading to the arrest of Hambali (believed to be Osama bin Laden’s key link to Southeast Asia) was provided by Cambodia, for which the country was highly evaluated by anti-terrorist expert…
… As far as the fight against terrorism is concerned Cambodia not only takes the fight inside its country but also cooperates with the world efforts as well. He may not have arrived in New York yet, but I think he may have heard my comments and critical remarks on him. In 1995 I went for a Non-Aligned Summit in Colombia and the host country then offered a Colombian military official who came to Cambodia working for UNTAC to escort me. I noticed that throughout the meeting, because of internal problems, effort to keep security was remarkably high. The incident prompted me to think why on earth some countries could not even make peace in their courtyards but send their troops to help others, and some countries have not had democratic elections, but send their men to advise Cambodia on the issue?
… Cambodia has two different images – one illustrated by the media and another is the one where we are. Cambodia is at peace and we are organizing graduation ceremony here. People of Cambodia these days travel wherever and whenever they want/need to. Most of our people like to travel at night as the weather is cooler. At the time when we observed the Phchum Ben days, the city was quiet because our people took the opportunity to visit their relatives or to go homes in provinces. They can do that because these days we have better road condition and there is also good security. Let me inform him that this Cambodia noted 30% increase of tourists to the country. Again I consider this a negative and damaging message for Cambodia in relation to investment and tourism…
… The issue is relating with mind security and I did mention that peace is not enough with the loss of sounds of gunfire, but since 1996-97 my definition of peace has been a real peace is peace in the mind.” I think the man should go back and advise Mr. Pinochet… please do not be angry with me as you have underrated my whole country, and I just take it back to you personally… In 2000, I went to the United Nations and in my official address I said “(the UN) should try not to be an immoral god”. I mean the United Nations should improve its selection of officials to work in other countries because otherwise they would make mistakes. Take for instance in Cambodia, a lot of UNTAC shortcomings have been studied. Now I learned that some of them wrote accounts of what happened in those days. The UNTAC Head declared offering UNTAC used vehicles for Cambodia but Cambodia received only the figures on paper as some of them had been stolen already.
… In one account compiled by a former UNTAC official, the UN officials (UNTAC) colluded with thieves in stealing cars. The water is getting so clear now that we can see the fish and what is there at the bottom. What happed eleven years ago has started to come out in writings. I think more will come. I recommend the local press get hold of the documents and unofficially translate and publish at large for knowledge of our people on UNTAC negative impacts. Cambodia also suffered a widespread of HIV/AIDS from the time when UNTAC came. What I have commented above is not about the United Nations but about one of the UN officials, who happened to have insufficient knowledge of the country but made unacceptable comments…/.