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Sirivudh opens thinktank

A FOREIGN policy thinktank was inaugurated on Sept 2, in a ceremony presided over by Foreign Affairs Minister Prince Norodom Sirivudh. The aim of the Cambodian Institute of Cooperation and Peace (CICP), according to its coordinator Suy Mong Leang, is to promote international understanding, cooperation and peace. It will advise the Foreign Affairs Ministry on policy.

Leang said: "The institute will be modelled on the ASEAN countries' Institutes of Strategy. The name of the Institute recalls the days of Sangkum Reastr Niyum when King Sihanouk stressed the need for peace and cooperation."

Speaking at the inagural ceremony, Truong Mealy, Chief of Cabinet for the Royal Palace, said: "Thanks to [the King's] clear-sighted policy, Cambodia enjoyed more than a decade of Peace. She was recognised by the world over as an 'Oasis of peace'."

The thinktank is the brainchild of Prince Sirivudh. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will supply office space and the funding will be provided by the German aid organization, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

The CICP is made up of a Board and an Advisory Council. Suy Mong Leang said: "There is no plan to share the Board positions along party lines. There are Funcinpec members and two CPP members. We are looking from someone from the private sector and someone from the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party." He said the chairman of the board is Prince Sirivudh and other senior members include HE Kiet Chon, vice chairman of CDC; Nady Tan, secretary general for the government; Pok Marina, under secretary at the Foreign Affairs Ministry; Omrad Sady, member of Parliament and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Commission and Un Neng, member of Parliament and of the Foreign Affairs Commission. Two Board members represent the Ebert Foundation, they are Norbert von Hofmann from the German Foundation headquarters and Stefan Chrobot, the Foundation's director in Bangkok.

"The Advisory Council will be staffed by experts asked to contribute on an ad hoc basis. Two of the advisors are the Secretary of State for Information Khieu Kanharith and Secretary of State for Defense Ek Sereywath," said Leang

The CICP is planning to hold a seminar in November on internal and international peace and cooperation and will publish an annual report, Suy Mong Leang said.



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