Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Amid $1.9M gift, CMAC boss tempers US aid comments

Amid $1.9M gift, CMAC boss tempers US aid comments

US President Barack Obama greets Laotian deminers during a visit last month in which he announced $90 million in funding for mine clearance. AFP
US President Barack Obama greets Laotian deminers during a visit last month in which he announced $90 million in funding for mine clearance. AFP

Amid $1.9M gift, CMAC boss tempers US aid comments

Seemingly backing away from previous criticism, Heng Ratana, director-general of the Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC), expressed gratitude to the US on Friday for pledging another $1.9 million to the organisation, while still implying that Cambodia is not treated as well as its neighbouring countries.

Ratana posted a Facebook status saying he signed an agreement on Friday with US authorities who pledged $1.9 million over 12 months to “clear over 12 square kilometers of contamination areas in at least 7 provinces”.

Last month, Ratana had taken to Facebook to decry US President Barack Obama’s pledge of $90 million in demining aid to Laos as “unfair”.

Over the weekend, however, Ratana took a more conciliatory tone, thanking the US for its past and present contributions.

“It is important to recall that the United States has provided approx US$40 million to CMAC since 1995,” Ratana wrote. “We highly appreciate the Government and people of the United States,” he added.

Ratana ended his post, however, by once again implying Cambodia was being treated unfairly by the United States. “We firmly hope the moral obligation to Cambodia will be provided in the same way it is to its neighbours,” he wrote, adding “moral obligations must not be discriminatory”.

David Josar, deputy spokesman at the US Embassy, offered differing figures from Ratana, saying the United States has, in fact, donated more than $100 million to various Cambodian organisations in demining aid in the past 20 years.

“The US State Department currently provides $5.5 million in annual support for humanitarian mine action activities in Cambodia,” Josar said.

In comparison, in 2011, the NGO Legacies of War estimated the US had only donated $51 million to Laos. Laos also has the dubious honour of being the most heavily bombed country per capita in history.

Meanwhile, also on Friday, a Battambang villager lost a leg in Samlot district after stepping on a landmine.“He went to his rice farm in order to cut the bush around the farm to prevent wild pigs from entering the farm and stepped on a landmine,” said Kim Ly, Ta Tork commune chief.

She added that in August, another villager in her commune also lost a leg from the same kind of land mine.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM imposes nationwide Covid restrictions, curfew over Delta scare

    Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28 instructed the municipal and provincial authorities nationwide to strictly enforce Covid-19 measures including curfew for two weeks from July 29 midnight through August 12 to stem the new coronavirus Delta variant. The instruction came shortly after he issued a directive

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Provinces on Thai borders put in lockdown amid Delta fears

    The government has decided to place several border provinces in lockdown for two weeks in a bid to prevent the new coronavirus Delta variant spreading further into community. According a directive signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28, the provinces include Koh Kong,

  • Jabs for kids bring hope for school reopenings

    Cambodia is tentatively planning to reopen schools – at least at the secondary level – when the vaccination of children aged 12-17 is completed, even though daily transmissions and deaths in other age groups remain high. Schools across the country have been suspended since March 20, one month

  • China denies Mekong hacking

    As the US and its allies joined hands last week to expose what they allege to be China’s Ministry of State Security’s malicious cyber activities around the world, the attention also turned to Cambodia with the US Department of Justice claiming that four

  • US' Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines arrive

    The first batch of 455,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine donated by the US touched down in Phnom Penh on the morning of July 30. They are part of the total 1,060,100 doses the US has pledged to provide to Cambodia through the World Health Organisation-led (