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Leaving for Lebanon

121220 01

Cambodian soldiers participate in a ceremony before departing yesterday for a peacekeeping mission in Lebanon. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

Two hundred and eighteen Cambodian military personnel set off for Lebanon yesterday morning to join the United Nations’ ongoing peacekeeping mission there.

They will replace 215 Cambodians who are now finishing Cambodian forces’ second one-year mission in Lebanon, said Sem Sovanny, director-general of the National Center for Peacekeeping Forces, Mines and Explosive Remnants of War Clearance, who attended the send-off.   

“We trained them for 10 months and put them through professional examinations in political theory and policy, civil engineering and general knowledge,” he said.  

The Cambodian forces will participate in engineering, infrastructure development, the clearing of mines and other explosives and medical care as part of the UN mission, which was authorised by resolutions following the escalation of hostilities on the Lebanon-Israel border in 1978 and 2006.

Douglas Broderick, UN resident coordinator in Cambodia, said Cambodia’s efforts were sizeable, and had “cleared more than two million square metres of mines”.  

Since Cambodia began participating in UN peacekeeping missions in 2006, the Kingdom has sent more than 1,000 engineers, social order keepers, military observers and charity and treatment groups abroad.

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