Lao Prime Minister To Visit Cambodia Next Week
Phnom Penh, March 2, 2011 AKP — Prime Minister of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, H.E. Thongsing Thammavong, will lead a high delegation to pay an official visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia on Mar. 7-8 at the invitation of Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen.
The Lao premier will be received in a royal audience by His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia, at the Royal Palace, said a press release of Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation dated today.
During his visit in the Kingdom, H.E. Thongsing Thammavong will respectively pay courtesy calls on Senate President Samdech Akka Moha Thamma Pothisal Chea Sim, National Assembly President Samdech Akka Moha Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin and Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen.
Besides, the Lao prime minister will visit the National Museum, the press release added. –AKP
DPM Sok An Speaks of Border and Preah Vihear Temple Issues
Phnom Penh, March 2, 2011 AKP — Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An has said that the firing by the Thai army of more than 400 mortar shells on the Preah Vihear Temple was intentional and aimed by Thailand to destroy the Temple.
H.E. Sok An, who is also Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers and Chairman of National Commission of Cambodia for UNESCO, was speaking in an interview on Monday.
He said one of the urgent things that Cambodia would do which was agreed by Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen and UNESCO Special Envoy Koichiro Matsuura was to hold a meeting between himself and his Thai counterpart.
However, he underlined, it must not be a meeting organized within the Thai manoeuvre of closing the door to use armed forces to attack Cambodia, and push out the United Nations, the ASEAN, the UNESCO and others who want to intervene for peace.
So, fruitful meetings are to have the UNESCO as a witness and must be held at the UNESCO headquarters attended by the UNESCO leaders, Deputy Premier Sok An said, referring to his previous meeting with former Thai Foreign Minister Noppadon, attended by UNESCO Deputy Director-General which led to a decision to list the Preah Vihear Temple [as a World Heritage Site] a few weeks later in Quebec.
He also gave an example of his fruitful meeting with his Thai counterpart delegation in Brazil which resulted in the signing of a five-point document with the intervention of Minister of Culture of Brazil as chairman of the annual meeting of the World Heritage Committee.
“We are prepared to meet with Thai counterpart at the UNESCO headquarters and the meeting is expected to take place in May and there will be a preparatory meeting in Paris prior to the World Heritage Committee’s meeting in Bahrain,” he said.
“We have requested Indonesia to dispatch the observers as soon as possible…, he said, adding that Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen convened a special meeting on Sunday during which he said the UN Security Council strongly supported ASEAN Chairman to play a coordinating role.
As far as the relevant progresses are concerned, he affirmed that fast progresses had been made. On Sunday, Indonesian Foreign Minister, who is now ASEAN Chairman, sent a letter to his Cambodian counterpart, requesting Cambodia to prepare a practical formula for the observations. Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong responded promptly to the request following an urgent meeting convened by Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen.
We hope that the situation will be getting less tense when the observers start working, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An said, urging the UNESCO and the World Heritage Committee to demonstrate their high attention to contribute to protecting and saving the Preah Vihear Temple.
Referring to the 1954 international convention on protection of cultural heritages in time of armed conflicts, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An suggested that the UNESCO should have a speedy approach to the United Nations Security Council, and Cambodia has now considered requesting for an observation mission like that in Israel and Arabia. –AKP
Article in Khmer by OK Saphan
Article in English by Ravuth M.
2011 Enterprise Census Kicked Off
Phnom Penh, March 2, 2011 AKP — The first-ever general 2011 Enterprise Census was kicked off on Mar. 1.
Senior Minister H.E. Chhay Than, Minister of Planning and Chairman of the Enterprise Census National Committee, accompanied by Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Embassy of Japan Mr. Hiroshi Kawamura, and High Representative of Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Mr. Yukiharu Kobayashi, inspected the census operation in Chamkar Morn and Tuol Kork districts, Phnom Penh.
On the occasion, H.E. Chhay Than called for a good cooperation from the public, especially from the entrepreneurs and the local authorities.
The census is aimed to gather important information on enterprises for the preparation of policy, economic development plan and management strategies as well as marketing and university research …, he stressed.
The one-month census is supported by the Japanese government and JICA. Some 4,000 interviewers and 500 supervising officials have been carrying out their tasks in over 14,000 villages throughout the country.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen appealed all business owners to support the work and provide sufficient and accurate information. –AKP
Cambodian, Vietnamese NAs Boost Ties
Phnom Penh, March 2, 2011 AKP — The Cambodian and Vietnamese National Assemblies should strengthen coordination and create the most favorable legal framework for bilateral cooperation.
This statement was made by NA Vice Chairman Nguyen Duc Kien while receiving a delegation from the Cambodian NA’s Commission for Education, Youth and Sports, Cults, Religious Affairs, Culture and Tourism led by its chairman Mom Chim Huy in Hanoi on Mar. 1, reported Vietnam News Agency (VNA).
Kien suggested the two NAs pay attention to popularization and education work so that Vietnamese and Cambodian people, especially young generations, will continuously preserve and promote the fine traditional relationship between the two countries.
He expressed his wish that the two countries’ ministries, agencies and localities would strengthen exchanges and take specific measures to further their multifaceted cooperation, especially in economics, trade, investment, culture and education.
He also affirmed Vietnam’s consistent policy to attach importance to developing ties with Cambodia, for the interests of each country’s people and for peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world at large.
The Vietnamese NA Vice Chairman acknowledged fine developments in the relationship between the two NAs in the past, saying that they helped boost the traditional friendship, neighborly relations and comprehensive cooperation between the two nations.
He thanked the Cambodian NA’s active support for Vietnam as the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) Chair during the 2009-2010 term and expressed his belief that the Cambodian NA would fulfill its role excellently as the AIPA Chair during the 2010-2011 term and successfully host the 32nd AIPA Assembly in the country this September.
For his part, Chairman Mom Chim Huy affirmed the Cambodian NA’s wish and determination to consolidate and further strengthen the exchange and cooperation between the commissions in particular and between the two legislative bodies of the two countries in general.
He stated that the bilateral cooperation between Cambodia and Vietnam has strongly developed in all fields, with two-way trade reaching US$1.8 billion in 2010. Vietnamese businesses have invested around US$2 billion in Cambodia.
On the same day, the Cambodian NA delegation held talks with a delegation from the Vietnamese NA’s Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children headed by its chairman Dao Trong Thi. The two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation and experience exchange in several fields.
During their stay in Vietnam from Feb. 28 to Mar. 5, the Cambodian delegation will work with leaders of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Ministry of Education and Training and the Government Committee on Religious Affairs. They also plan to pay a working visit to the Vietnamese northern province of Bac Ninh. –AKP
Cambodia’s Supreme Court Maintains the Appeal Court’s Verdict on Sam Rainsy
Phnom Penh, March 2, 2011 AKP – Cambodia’s Supreme Court yesterday decided to maintain the Appeal Court’s verdict on opposition leader Sam Rainsy being found guilty of pulling up demarcation posts along Cambodia-Vietnam border.
With the participation of members of Sam Rainsy opposition party and the lawyers of both sides, presiding Judge Khim Pon announced the upholding of the verdict, saying that opposition leader Sam Rainsy was sentenced to two years in prison, and along with two villagers, Meas Srey and Prom Chea, they have to pay more than 60 million Riel (roughly US$15,000) in compensation for damaging intentionally the border post 185 and inciting racial discrimination.
It is worthy noted that in January 2009, the Svay Rieng Court sentenced opposition leader Sam Rainsy to two years in jail in absentia.
The provincial court gave one-year sentences to Meas Srey and Prom Chea for being accused of damaging the border posts and ordered all three to pay more than 60 million Riel in combination.
The Appeal Court reduced the sentences of Meas Srey and Prom Chea by two months in October 2010 and released them on bail.
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy was also sentenced to 10 years in prison in last September by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for disinformation and falsifying public documents. –AKP
By THOU Peou
Police Cracks Down Drug Production Site in Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh, March 2, 2011 AKP – At least 3 suspects have been arrested in a methamphetamine production site in Phnom Penh, Municipal Anti-Drug police said.
Phnom Penh Municipal Police Chief Gen. Ben Roth said the Police arrested 3 suspects and seized 6 kilograms of white powder, some amphetamine, and other drug production materials during a raid at Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district yesterday. –AKP
By KHAN Sophirom
Concrete Production Factory Opened in Kandal Province
Phnom Penh, March 2, 2011 AKP – The US$17-million concrete production factory was officially put into operation in Kandal province’s Ksach Kandal district on Mar. 1.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by Secretary of State at the Interior Ministry Gen. Em Sam An and Kandal Provincial Governor H.E. Chhun Sirun, as well as representatives of Belgium and Vietnamese Embassies to Cambodia.
The joint venture was established between Cambodia’s 7NG Company, Belgian firm Flanders Concrete Corporation and Vietnam’s Thu Duc Centrifugal Concrete Joint Stock Company. –AKP
By CHEA Vannak
Foreign Diplomats Praise Cambodia’s Efforts to Protect World Heritage Site
Phnom Penh, March 2, 2011 AKP — Foreign diplomats, including the former prime minister of Barbados, praised Cambodia for its effort in protection and conservation of the World Heritage-listed Temple of Preah Vihear, which was seriously damaged by Thai direct bombardment earlier this month.
Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford, Barbados’ former Premier and now ambassador to China, told Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Sok An: “Barbados appreciates Cambodia’s effort to protect the intangible heritage of mankind”, according to the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers.
Sir Lloyd said in a briefing of several ambassadors from member countries of the World Heritage Committee: “Barbados supports the work of Cambodia, UNESCO, the UN, and ASEAN in seeking to advance peace and prevent conflict.”
“We wish to continue these efforts by working with international cooperation so that we can create a better world through peace and development,” said Sir Lloyd.
The briefing also included diplomats from Mali, Ethiopia and Nigeria, who said that they strongly supported the efforts by ASEAN and the United Nations Security Council to bring about peace and development through diplomatic means and to put an end to fighting along the Cambodian-Thai border.
Mali’s Ambassador N’Tji Laico Traore said that his government welcomes the statements of ASEAN and the UN Security Council.
Indonesia plans to send 30 observers to monitor the ceasefire where Cambodia and Thailand exchanged fire near Preah Vihear Temple. The United Nations urged both sides to establish a permanent ceasefire and to implement it fully and resolve the situation peacefully and through dialogue.
A Nigerian diplomat in the Philippines, A.E. Okoliko, said that he hailed the Cambodian government’s efforts to protect the temple.
“The use of force is not allowed to destroy a World Heritage Site,” Okoliko told the Cambodian deputy prime minister.
H.E. Sok An told the delegates, who were invited to Phnom Penh to hear Cambodia’s explanation concerning the armed clashes of Feb. 4-7, that all five temple gates of Preah Vihear were seriously damaged by Thai shelling.
He briefed the delegates that the Thai troops had fired rounds of unconventional shells, comprising cluster bombs and gas shells, during their artillery battles with Cambodia.
Four Cambodian soldiers and one policeman were killed. Two Cambodian civilians were killed and another 30 Cambodian military personnel were injured. More than 3,000 Cambodian families were displaced.
The Thai military is building up its troops to some 20,000 men along the border, supported by 120 tanks and heavy weapons.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) special envoy on Preah Vihear Temple, Koïchiro Matsuura, arrived in Cambodia on Sunday and met with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday.
Matsuura told Prime Minister Hun Sen that it was impossible to delist the Temple from the World Heritage list, although Thailand had requested UNESCO to do so.
The World Heritage Committee of UNESCO inscribed the 900-year-old temple as a World Heritage Site in July 2008.
Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Sok An said that UNESCO has planned to host a meeting in Paris in May at which Cambodia and Thailand will be invited to discuss preparations ahead of the annual meeting of the World Heritage Committee, to be held in Bahrain in June.
He also informed the delegation about the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling in 1962 that: the Temple of Preah Vihear is situated in Cambodian territory. The Court found that Thailand was obligated to withdraw any military or police forces, or other guards or keepers, it had stationed at the Temple, or in its vicinity on Cambodian territory. Thailand is also obligated to restore to Cambodia any heritage objects removed from the Temple or the Temple area by Thai authorities. –AKP
UNESCO Special Envoy: Mission to Cambodia and Thailand Is Very Successful
Phnom Penh, March 2, 2011 AKP — Special Envoy of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Mr. Koichiro Matsuura, has affirmed that his mission to Thailand and Cambodia on the issue of Preah Vihear Temple ended successfully.
“It’s a very fruitful mission,” he said here on Tuesday at Phnom Penh International Airport before his departure.
Mr. Matsuura, former UNESCO director-general and former chair of the World Heritage Committee, paid a visit to Thailand on Feb. 25-26, then to Cambodia from Feb. 27 to Mar. 1.
In his separate meetings on Feb. 28 with Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers H.E. Sok An, Mr. Koichiro Matsuura announced the upcoming visit of a UNESCO expert team to Preah Vihear Temple to assess the damages and rehabilitate the temple.
He further said that the delisting of Preah Vihear Temple is impossible because the temple is of outstanding universal value. –AKP
By SOKMOM Nimul
OPINION: THE NEW WIND OVER CAMBODIAN-THAI ARMED CONFLICTS
Phnom Penh, March 2, 2011 AKP — The conflict between Thailand and Cambodia caused by Thai repeated acts of aggression has become international affairs since the UNSC meeting in New York on 14 February 2011 followed by the mediation effort by Indonesia, current chair of ASEAN at the 22 February ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting. Across the Atlantic from UNSC in New York City, to the European Union, the EU’s parliament condemned the deadly fighting occurring from 4 to 7 February and welcomed the efforts of Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa of Indonesia who facilitated the meeting of all ten ASEAN foreign ministers, despite previous rejection of the idea of ASEAN involvement in resolving the conflict by Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
The outcome of the Jakarta meeting was that Cambodia and Thailand have agreed to allow Indonesian nationals civilian and unarmed military personnel to exercise the task of observers in the area of the frontier line where Cambodian Armed Forces units and Thai Armed Forces Units are positioning. It is worth noting that from the Cambodian standpoint as laid down by Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, on the Cambodian side of the frontier line, Indonesian observers will have full freedom of access, “they can go anywhere, they can go any time, and they can see any thing they wanted to see.”
On the same matter, the international community including UNSC, ASEAN and EU was astounded to hear that up to 1 March 2011 that “Thailand remains without a clear plan on when to allow the observers in,” as published by The Nation, on 1 March under the title: Thailand stalls on Temple visitors. The same news outlet reported also that Army Chief Prayuth Chan-ocha had said that: “Thailand will not allow Indonesian observers to have full access to the disputed border areas near Preah Vihear,” and that Thai Defence and Foreign ministries “so far have not reached common ground on the observers’ roles.” There is no doubt in the international community’s mind that Thailand attempted to stall the terms of reference (TOR) on the Indonesian observers which have been sent to both Thailand and Cambodia by Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, the current chairman of ASEAN, while Cambodia has responded positively.
Alexander Mohr, an international relations expert and partner for international relations at the European government relations firm Alber & Geiger in Brussels, and former lecturer on international relations at the French University “Institut d’etudes Politiques de Paris,” France, in an article published in The Nation on 1 March 2011 under the title: “Border conflict could be an opportunity to redefine Asean,” has concluded that: “The involvement of a third party could have great potential to solve the problem between the two countries and at the same time re-define the role of Asean in the region in the long run.”
Certainly, when many people, from the UNSC, ASEAN, EU to private international individual are aware of the root causes of conflict between Thailand and Cambodia, as Samdech Techo Hun Sen of Cambodia has put it wisely: “we are moving out of the darkness and we are coming under daylight,” the resolution of the conflict between Thailand and Cambodia undeniably requires the involvement of a third party. As we speak the process is on the move.
How smart, how good, how cunning, how snaky, how slimy the leaders and members of the Thai governments are, it is already too much too late for them to stall the process, now. They will try nonetheless. The best for them is to cut their losses to a minimum.
Prof. Pen Ngoeun
Senior advisor and member of the Academic Committee
Puthisastra University, Phnom Penh, Cambodia,
Former Dean and Professor of the Faculty of Business and Economics
Pannasastra University of Cambodia,
Former Assistant Controller at Phibro Inc.,
A subsidiary of Citigroup Inc., New York City, USA, until 2000
(The comment are solely the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Royal Government of Cambodia)