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Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hor Namhong
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hor Namhong, addresses the general debate of the 69th session of the General Assembly on Monday. UN PHOTO

Namhong talks at UN

On Monday, Cambodia had its annual chance to address the world at the UN General Assembly’s 69th Ordinary Session in New York.

Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, speaking before the UNGA for the first time since 2012, described the globe as being at a “critical juncture”.

And with the menace of the fundamentalist group calling itself the Islamic State, ongoing armed conflict in Syria and parts of Africa, and the Ebola epidemic, “the current picture is rather bleak”, Namhong said.

To contribute to peace efforts, Cambodia had dispatched 2,000 UN peacekeepers to Lebanon, Mali and South Sudan, he continued, with another 216 peacekeepers being sent to the Central African Republic in November.

The foreign minister also backed a resumption of peace talks between Israel and Palestine to find a two-state solution to their longstanding conflict.

On the situation in Eastern Europe, Namhong was careful not to name Russia – a key partner of Cambodia during its international isolation in the 1980s – though he did say the “worrisome” situation’s outcome could be a “revert to Cold War”.

North Korea, however, was not spared, with Namhong saying its launching of missiles had “aggravated the situation in the region”.

On climate change, Namhong referenced devastating flooding in Cambodia last year and called for a global agreement to be reached next year.

He said that developing countries were the “main victims” of climate change caused by emissions from the developed world.

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