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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - German Unity Day October 3, 2014

German Unity Day October 3, 2014

Message from the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Joachim Baron von Marschall, on the 24th Day of German Unity

On the occasion of the 24th anniversary of the reunification of East and West Germany, I have the honour to present my sincere greetings to His Majesty Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia, to Her Majesty the Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk and to the people of Cambodia. I would also like to extend my warmest greetings to all my fellow German citizens living in Cambodia, many of whom are working for this country’s development and for a strong relationship between our country and Cambodia.

An anniversary always provides the opportunity to take stock. Much has happened in our two countries since we celebrated the German Unity Day a year ago. Cambodia has overcome the constitutional impasse which followed last year’s national elections, and the elected members of the Opposition have taken their seats in the National Assembly. Both parties have shown their willingness for political compromise – an important signal not only to the Cambodian people but also to the foreign friends of this country. May this step forward help promote a political culture of mutual fairness and constructive debate which will benefit the whole country and society.

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There has been good progress in Cambodia’s economic development, but many challenges remain. Germany, along with many other donor countries, continues to support Cambodia’s development through GIZ, the German Organisation for International Cooperation, and KfW Banking Group, in the areas of health, rural development and good governance, and several German NGOs are active in areas such as stone conservation in the temples of Angkor, demining, education and the government sector.

This donor-led support, however, needs to be complemented by the engagement and initiative of the private sector, ensuring real sustainability of the country’s development. It, therefore, is essential that the conditions for private investors – and I hope this will include German companies – are substantially improved.

Germany is looking back at a year of economic prosperity – something which cannot and should not be taken for granted at a time when, in many parts of Europe, economic difficulties prevail. Fairly near to home, there are also challenges to peace in Eastern Europe and in the Middle East – challenges which remind us that peace cannot by any means be taken for granted. The Federal Government continues to be actively involved, along with its partners in Europe and across the Atlantic, in efforts to ensure political and economic stability in and the security of Europe and to seek peaceful solutions in the Middle East.

In the midst of all of this, the victory of the German football team at this year’s FIFA world championship has been a happy reminder of the peaceful ways in which nations measure their forces against each other, ways which strengthen understanding and friendship among people across the world.

There has been another important event which I also would like to mention: The Khmer Rouge Tribunal ruling on 7 August 2014. Germany has, from the outset, supported this court, and Germany is also working with the Victims Support Section attached to the court. The verdict, like that of 2012, comes with an important message: That lawlessness and impunity cannot withstand the power of the rule of law. And it has stimulated an important debate going on in this country about how to deal with a painful history – a debate which, as Germany knows all too well from its own history, needs to be fostered for the sake of a better future.

On this day when we Germans look back gratefully over 24 years of peace and prosperity in unity, I wish that, based on the friendly relations between our two countries, Germany can continue to support the Cambodian people in their own aspirations for stability and prosperity.



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