Minister of National Defence Tea Banh has hailed Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Win-Win Policy, saying that without it, the Cambodian people would have continued to live in fear, unable to travel to some areas of the country and without the ability to earn a decent living.

Banh, who is also a deputy prime minister, said the government’s policy, with Hun Sen at the head, made it possible for Cambodia to unify its fragmented forces back together.

It has been the most important factor in the process of finding peace and development for society, he said.

“Without the Win-Win political presence . . . people would have had restricted movement, people would have found it difficult to practice religion, they would not have access to proper education and would not be able to celebrate festivals with great joy such as is seen today,” he said.

“With the support of our people, the government has successfully overcome many obstacles, making it possible for Cambodia to maintain the peace, political stability and continued development that has facilitated the improvement of citizens’ livelihoods.”

Banh said Cambodia had restored its prestige internationally through economic and humanitarian progress and peacekeeping activities.

Kin Phea, the director-general of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the Cambodian political process between 1979 and 1998 was still plagued by civil war and unrest.

He said if Cambodia did not have the Win-Win Policy, there would have been at least continued friction between divided factions or at most, all-out civil war.

“The Win-Win Policy is a crucial factor for peace and development in Cambodia. It is a historical fact and we must recognise that Cambodia has been fully at peace since 1998,” Phea said.

Phea said the Win-Win Policy is one of the key achievements of the government.

“The Win-Win Policy has also been the catalyst to bring confidence from the international community and foreign investors back into Cambodia. In turn, this has resulted in the Kingdom’s ability to grow in regional and global affairs,” he said.

Political analysts Meas Nee and Em Sovannara could not be reached for comment on Monday.