Phnom Penh, 22 November 2022 (TDI): Prime Minister of Cambodia, Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen chaired the closing ceremony of the Conference “Commemorating 30 Years of Mine Action” on 22 November 2022.

The ceremony was held at Koh Pich Convention and Exhibition Centre in Phnom Penh. Ly Thuch, Senior Minister and First Vice President of Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), was also present at the ceremony.

The Prime Minister of Cambodia reaffirmed the country’s commitment to being mine-free by 2025. He further mentioned Cambodia’s effort for the mine-free initiative in Preah Sihanouk and Siem Reap provinces.

While speaking at the closing ceremony he reiterated that Cambodia has spent millions of US dollars on energy and infrastructure in the south region, therefore it can invest in its mine-free initiative too.

He stressed that without commitment and determination, the mine-free goal cannot be achieved by 2025. Demining is a good merit act for humanity, Prime Minister added.

The Kingdom of Cambodia started its mine-free operations in 1992. United States, Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, the People’s Republic of China, and Germany supported Cambodia in mine clearance operations.

Likewise, Switzerland, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Canada, Norway, Hungary, France, India, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Austria, UNDP, and UNICEF also supported it in the operations.

Vice President of Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority remarks

President CMAA, Ly Thuch celebrated the 30th Anniversary of Mine Action. On the occasion, he highlighted Cambodia’s historic achievement in mine clearance action.

While commemorating the expertise and sacrifice, both mentally and physically, he paid tribute to mine operators and all the donors. He expressed gratitude to development partners for their support of mine clearance activities in Cambodia.

Also Read: UN official visits demined sites in Cambodia

According to CMAA’s report, in the past 30 years, Cambodia released some 2,531 square kilometers of contaminated land, found and destroyed 1,151,232 anti-personnel mines, 26,112 anti-tank mines, and 3,028,659 items of unexploded ordnance, benefiting about 9 million people

Cambodia to work with Thailand on a mine-free goal

Prime Minister Hun Sen encouraged officials to work closely with their Thai counterparts on mine clearance activities.

Prime Minister mentioned that he and the Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayut Chan-o-cha agreed to cooperate in clearing mines along with the borders of both nations.

There is no landmine presence along with Cambodia-Laos and Cambodia-Vietnam border but some remain along the border with Thailand, the Cambodian Prime Minister said.

In conclusion, he underlined that both countries’ priority should be to make border areas mine-free, even though the borderline issue between Cambodia and Thailand has not yet been fully settled.