In addition to the prepared text, Samdech Techo Hun Sen gave a few more foods for thought to the conference as follows:
… At the same time, as a country most heavily affected by mines in the world and a signatory of the Ottawa Treaty on the “Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines”, Cambodia firmly and always adheres to implementing and practicing the essence and spirit of this Treaty …
Sending Troops to Foreign Country for Non Profit
I wish to affirm that we are not in pursuit of profit when we are sending our demining troops to a foreign nation under the banner of the United Nations. The way it works is that the United Nations requires us to pay in advance for equipping the troops. The United Nations will reimburse the amount we have paid. So far, the reimbursement has been bigger than the amount we pay. That is not profit. We do not want any profit from sending our troops to work (for peace and humanitarian missions) in foreign countries. We must be clear on this point. Cambodia does not trade its troops for profit. In addition to that, the state does not even deduct even a single cent from the troops’ personal income.
I remember that in UNTAC (United Nations Transitional Authority to Cambodia) time, some countries that sent their troops to Cambodia under the banner of the United Nations deducted percentage from their troops’ salary for the national income. As for Cambodia, firstly, we continue to provide their salary in the country for their families, while, secondly, giving them certain amount of allowance prior to leaving the country. Thirdly, we take none from their mission salary. I should clarify that we are making no profit from the mission. I need to make it clear or our friends or development partners could have misunderstood that we are sending troops to demine for profit.
State of Affairs in African, Middle East and East Asian Regions
Should the United Nations need more for demining operation mission, we must be ready to send out more of our de-miners. However, we also need to keep monitoring the situation in various regions where we have and would send more of our de-miners to. We need to keep an eye on the situation in Sudan and Lebanon, where our de-mining troops are. In his visit to Cambodia to participate in the cremation ceremony of Samdech Preah Borom Ratanak Kaod, Preah Norodom Sihanouk, I told my French counterpart HE Jean-Marc Ayrault that the French help monitor the situation in the regions (Africa and Middle East) as they have more means to.
We need to be watchful on the case of conflict between Israel and Lebanon and conflicts around issue of Syria. What could have happened? It is important that we have to monitor the developments. We need to have first-hand accurate information in case we need to move our troops out of those countries (Sudan and Lebanon).
Facing with threats of war in the Korean peninsula, everyone is wondering why Cambodia keeps silence and does not make up a plan for evacuation for thousands of its citizens currently working in South Korea. I think Cambodia would not have to. I do not believe there will be a fight or those involved would dare to. They make quite some noise but I do not see the possibility for war. However, we do not underestimate what can happen. Should there be any problem, with speedy information, we could not neglect the fact. Maybe our friends and the US Ambassador here could not believe that there could be war too. The other day a high-ranking politician asked me if the possibility of war was real. I said that I doubted since they make too much a noise about it.
Mines and UXOs at the Cambodian-Thai Border
There is another point of interest here. At the meetings of the CLV, CLMV and ACMECS in Vientiane lately, Prime Minister of Thailand, Lok Chumteav Yingluck, and I are of unanimous view that there are many mines and UXOs left along the Cambodian-Thai border. I proposed to her that we should seek for opportunity for the CMAC (Cambodian Mine Action Centre) and TMAC (Thai Mine Action Centre) to work together to clear mines and UXOs off those areas deemed necessary. That should mean not only those areas defined by the provisional decision of the International Court of Justice in the area of the Preah Vihear temple but also in other areas where the two countries need to connect.
I would urge HE Hor Namhong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and HE Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Thai Foreign Minister and Chairman of the Thai-Cambodian Joint Development Committee, to search for means to make areas where we have economic relations free from mines and UXOs. I have seen so many UXOs and mines in pictures from the feasibility study team for building the hydropower station at the Stoeng Metoek. It is in that knowledge that I am urging more efforts in this field so that people from our two countries can go for each other. That would also help clear the problem of who would be responsible for any incident that may happen. We have done a great job in the areas along the border between Cambodia and Vietnam, and Cambodia and Laos. We need to ensure similar achievement in areas along the border between Cambodia and Thailand.
According to the report by H.E Prak Sokhon, Vice-Chairman of the Cambodian Mines Action Authority, although we have been more successful so far, we still have a long way to go by moving on the way to achieve the ultimate goal of landmines clearance and unexploded ordnance and to save the vulnerable people in Cambodia …
Taking this opportunity, as inputs used to speed up the progress and achieve the better results in implementing the landmine clearance activity and unexploded ordnance in Cambodia, I would like to provide a number of recommendations as follows:
First: the Ministry, institutions, authorities, units and related agencies of the Royal Government must continue close cooperation with CMAA in order to promote the implementation of action plan of landmine clearance and unexploded ordnance in all targeted areas as scheduled of the Cambodia Development Goal as planned…
Second: all Ministries and institutions, physical infrastructures and development projects that are required to clear the landmines and unexploded ordnance must cooperate and consult with CMAA in order to set the necessary measures and best methods to solve and mitigate the risk that may occur …
Third: the CMAA must continue strengthening its capacity in order to accelerate the progress in leading the implementation of the CMAA National Strategy to be more successful according to Cambodia Development Goal and must put out monitoring mechanism to ensure efficiency of the implementation of CMAA…
Fourth: for the development partners, national and international non-governmental organizations, donors, and the private sector must discuss with CMAA while choosing the operators and locations that need to be cleared so that it will not only make their projects move in parallel with the national priority plan but also use the national budget rightly and efficiently.
Fifth: the investors, corporations and private companies in which their investment projects are located in the areas that are under the threat or suspicious of having landmines and unexploded ordnance must try to seek cooperation and discuss with CMAA…
Live-Firing Exercise, No Muscle Flexing
I would just add a few words about this live-firing exercise of certain weapons and ammunitions conducted under the leadership of the Ministry of National Defense and the General Staff of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. The live firing is just a normal exercise of certain types of heavy weapons that we have. The firing went smoothly and with success, according to the report, under the joint observation of HE Tia Banh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense, and HE Pol Saroeun, Chief of General Staff.
However, I am urging to dispatch special teams, in cooperation with CMAC, to the firing targets to find out if those ammos hit the targets and exploded. We have fired hundreds of ammos. If any of them did not explode, we need to remove them. This should keep the place free of UXOs. I would just clarify it to the press, and people might have seen some on TV, that it was not a muscle flexing of any kind at all. It was just an exercise. Cambodia does not have any muscle to flex on anyone. Some were old weapons and some new. No country on this earth has not weapon. We have some but we do not make them a threat to any country at all. We just learn to fire them.
This morning we had live fired 80 missiles from a set of BM 21 canons. Each shot fired 40 pieces of missiles. After firing the first 40 missiles, the second set of 40 new missiles were loaded and fired for the second time. Please check if any one of them left unexploded. We must make sure that none of them is left unexploded or Tia Banh and Pol Saroeun would become the ones making the area covered with UXOs./.