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Cambodia to host annual peacekeeping training operations

Cambodia to host annual peacekeeping training operations

US government initiative to train international peacekeeping troops will be held on Cambodian soil for the first time next year.

CAMBODIA will host multilateral peacekeeping exercises in 2010 as part of a US State Department program, the US embassy said Wednesday.

"The Royal Government of Cambodia has agreed to host a multilateral peacekeeping training event in 2010 as part of the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI)... an annual Capstone training event attended by GPOI member nations and other regional and international partners," embassy spokesman John Johnson said by email.

Johnson added that the event would provide training in line with the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, including "field tactical and command post operations", but that formal planning and preparation for the exercise will not begin until later this year.

Ministry of Defence Cabinet chief Nem Sowath confirmed that the country would host the GPOI Capstone event with American assistance sometime next year. "It is not a military exercise involving offensive manoeuvres, but will train armed forces for peacekeeping operations," he said.

RCAF Commander-in-Chief Pol Saroeun confirmed the country would host the operations in 2010, but said the Defence Ministry was currently coordinating the nations that would be involved, which he expected would include Asean member states.

Filling a shortfall

According to a GPOI strategy report, the program, established in 2005, aims to "train and, as appropriate, equip at least 75,000 peacekeepers worldwide ... to increase global capacity to participate in peace operations" by 2010. The project has an estimated  budget of US$96 million for 2009.

Previous hosts for the GPOI Capstone exercises were Mongolia (2007), in which 43 Cambodian soldiers took part, and Bangladesh last year, in which a further 40 participated. The 2009 Capstone event is scheduled to be held in Indonesia.

Around 400 Cambodian de-miners have been posted to Sudan since 2006 as part of the UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur.

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