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City to host mine ban summit

City to host mine ban summit

Prak Sokhon speaks yesterday after his return to Cambodia from a landmine meeting. heng chivoan
Prak Sokhon speaks yesterday after his return to Cambodia from a landmine meeting. heng chivoan

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Cambodia will host the 11th Annual Meeting of the State Parties of the Ottawa Treaty – also known as the Mine Ban Treaty – late next year, despite the Kingdom’s refusal to ratify a treaty banning cluster munitions.

Prak Sokhon, secretary of state at the Council of Ministers, said the conference would be held in the capital city between November 28 and December 2, 2011. He gave the announcement at a press conference at Phnom Penh International Airport after returning from Mine Ban Treaty meetings in Geneva, Switzerland that finished last Friday.

“Cambodia was classified as the third of four countries that had been most seriously affected by mines, and it will … host and chair the 11th Annual Meeting of Ottawa State Parties with the participation of over 120 countries,” said Prak Sokhon.

The Ottawa Treaty has been signed by 156 states and prohibits the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines.

Prak Sokhon said that participating countries in the Phnom Penh meetings would be shown the Kingdom’s “mine clearance work experiences, strategic working plans and achievements made in connection with mine clearance activities.”

Pressed on the topic of cluster munitions, Prak Sokhon said Cambodia hadn’t signed the Cluster Bomb Treaty due to conflict with Thailand, which also has not signed the treaty.

“The reason we haven’t signed the treaty is because of Thai invasions into Cambodian territory, and also that we have a number of cluster bombs in our military warehouses.”

Prak Sokhon also said he didn’t want to sign the treaty, only to be “condemned by the international community or state parties,” if Cambodia was forced to use them for border defence.

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