At the district of Mehmut of Kompong Cham province, Samdech Hun Sen accompanied by Madame brought to light some of the issues from the past and expressed his thanks to HM the King, the National Assembly, the Senate, the Royal Government, the state institutions and people for the support of the supplemental treaty to the 1985 border treaty with Vietnam.
… My wife and I today have great pleasures to be able to come once again to the Kompong Cham’s district of Mehmut after my last trip here in 2002 to launch the construction of a part the national road between the district of Mehmut and the district of Snuol of Kratie’s province. I may say that returning to the district of Mehmut is no different to returning to my home village, and I am sure people learned that a part of our lives, especially my wife’s as described in part in a song “life of a farmer, destiny of a peasant” and in full in the song “sufferings of a separated wife”, “my pitiful child”, “account of a suffering mother” etc.
… May I take this opportunity to express my apology for being late to respond to the request for the construction of this road as presented to me by HE Uk Bunchoeun who leads the CPP work team in this area. You may all know that we were stuck in a political situation in 2003 until mid of 2004 – and we have a breakthrough thanks to the efforts made between the Cambodian People’s Party and Funcinpec, especially between myself and Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranaridh. Still, in terms of financial disbursement, we have to wait for financial bill to be passed by the National Assembly – where the 2005 financial bill was segmented into various parts making it difficult to secure a part for the construction of the road. It was because of this situation that, though I approved the request in April this year, the actual implementation of the project could only be started at end of 2005.
… The construction of this road uses the financial budget of 2006, which will have yet to go for the National Assembly’s approval. As far as the road is concerned, HE Kong Ieng told me that eight out of 19.6 Kilometers have already been finished. Though the road length may be short, but it runs through six communes of the district of Mehmut and between two districts of Kratie – Snuol, Chhlong and two districts of Kompong Cham’s Mohmut and Dambe. I know this area very well and in the war time between 1970 and 1975, when there were intrusions from the US and the South Vietnamese armies into this area, I used to launch an operation to fetch rice for consumption in this area in fear of being spotted. The remains of shells discovered by our engineering team could tell how serious that was.
… I told HE Minister Sun Chanthol that we could not fulfill this mission without the army as the projected road has to be free from mines and unexploded ordinances. In Snuol, the Lon Nol army deserted to the liberation forces since April 1970, only the US forces and the South Vietnamese soldiers occupied from Snuol back to Punnhea Krek, where the brigade 22 of Thach Chan stationed. The engineering team’s presence here not only builds the road but also clears mines and unexploded ordinances. What is more important still is the efficiency in dealing with malaria in this area. That is why I wish to reiterate once again that the military engineering teams – that of the Ministry of Defense, the General Staff, and the Infantry – are the core intervention forces of the Prime Minister. We have done the same for the road 56 between Pursat and the Cambodian-Thai border, and the road between Banteay Srey and Anlong Veng of Siemreap province.
… Let me distinguish differences between period prior and post road-construction to show how roads assuage people’s poverty and hardship. As far as I know, students in this area had to have two pair of dresses when coming to school – one for school and one for traveling across mud roads. They always have difficulties in transporting patients to hospitals. It is true that this term is declared to be the irrigation construction term but we continue to give priority also to roads and bridges. The Ministry of Transports and Public Works, and the Ministry of Rural Development have been allocated with a large sum of fund for building, renovating and repairing roads and bridges. Because of the good road condition, the cost of transports has gone down a little, while our people also gain their time in involving in other productive activities.
… These are indeed the economic benefits that the Royal Government gives out to our people. Some people may say they would give the money from building roads and bridges to the people. The Royal Government gave our people between one or two hour less in traveling the same distance. My wife and I spotted from helicopter places of both good and sad memories along the national road 7, but we both are happy to see our road is back into good condition. During of intrusion by the US and South Vietnamese forces, tanks were brought by helicopters here and they run and caused damages to the asphalted road. It took a long time to get from here to Phnom Penh in the past, but it takes only three hours to get here from Phnom Penh these days. The road length from Phnom Penh to the Cambodian-Lao border is 558 Kilometers and only 114 Kilometers between Kompong Cham and the border. We have enlarged our road to eleven-meters wide already.
… I lost a child in Mehmut for the carelessness of midwife and staff. After my first son’s death, my wife and I went to our native villages. We had our second son. On June 20, 1977 I decided that I had to fight the Khmer Rouge regime. In those days I had a soldier whom I later met here in 2002. He was the most trusted messenger between me and my wife. Thanks to him I was able to send some stuff to my wife, which never failed in reaching to my wife. My life had been so rough in those days and I have not done enough yet to reciprocate in kind to those love and care that the people in this area generously offered to me and my wife. I could never forget one of the incidents when the South Vietnamese soldiers came into the village of Sla, the villagers helped me out.
… My eldest son said when they come back from study he would seek to work in development and would not seek a promotion in rank. I told him maybe he could join Choeun Sovantha of the military region II. He said he does not want to be a commander and it should be a clarification to those who mislead the publics that my son will return and replace HE Ke Kim Yan. I am happy to accept my son’s decision.
… This year we have a situation where almost 100% of our people’s harvest is being done in presence of water in the field, and I take this opportunity to seek your understanding on my appeal to our people to use short and medium-term rice in place of long-term rice for fear of water scarcity. Still I think you all agree with my philosophy that we have rice to harvest, though in inundated rice fields, is better than we have nothing to harvest.
… Taking this opportunity I wish to express my sincere thanks to HM the King for the signing the Royal Decree on the Border Treaty to supplement the 1985 border treaty with Vietnam after the ratification made by the National Assembly and the Senate. HM the King in his message to our people shows HM’s comprehensive thinking in relation to all aspects pertaining to the Royal families. The ratifications and the signing of the supplemental treaty signify that suspicions and controversies on issues of border area with Vietnam have come to its end. I wish to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to Samdech Krom Preah (Norodom Ranaridh), President of the National Assembly and Samdech Chea Sim, President of the Senate and their members for the ratification of the bill. The treaty has been signed with supports by the most dignified persons – the President of the National Assembly, the President of the Senate, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister in Charge of the Council of Minister.
… We now have to build a borderline of peace, friendship and cooperation and I just saw a factory adjacent to the border with Vietnam. I think it is better to have a factory than artillery near the border area. I would warn you that if the war breaks out, people in this area will suffer great losses and, because the national road 7 is not far from the borderline. War with Vietnam would cut off the line of supply between Mehmut and Snuol – a situation we should not experience. Once again my thanks also go in addition to the armed forces, the state institutions of all levels and the people of Cambodia for expressing their firm support to the Royal Government’s actions in defending our independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as shaping up good relations with neighboring countries. This outcome has turned the Cambodian situation to a level that is “positive.” We have now brought the remaining hot issue – the borderline to its final legal stage already.
… This could happen thanks to the consensus between CPP and Funcinpec, who have about 80% support of the people of Cambodia. I will in my capacity as the Prime Minister continue to act in my power to proceed with this matter leading to the demarcation and putting markers in the remaining sections of our border with Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.
On that occasion, Samdech Hun Sen offered to repair a 670 meter road around the pagoda of Botum Ratanaram and ten million Riels each to seven other pagodas for their residential building reparations, a road of 1800 meters to the people of Tamoung commune, 15.6 Kilometer road to the people of Spean village with the Ministry of Rural Development as senior financier, a school building of six classrooms and solar-energized lighting system to the Primary School of Bun Rany-Hun Sen Mehmong, and a two floors building of twelve classrooms, (and a five classrooms for sewing professional, fifty sewing machines, a three-room office, a system of solar-energized lights) to the college of Bun Rany-Hun Sen Mehmut.