Ly Thuch, first vice-president of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), has asked Germany to continue its support in order for the Kingdom to finish the job of creating a mine-free Cambodia and to address the problem of explosive remnants of war (ERW) in line with the National Mine Action Strategy 2018-2025.

Thuch was attending a reception at the German ambassador’s residence in observation of the 32nd German Unity Day – marking the reunification of West Germany and East Germany after decades apart following World War II – on October 3.

Germany’s recently appointed ambassador to Cambodia Stefan Anton Messerer assumed his role in September.

Thuch congratulated Messerer on his new appointment, saying that he and the rest of the Cambodian government stands ready to work closely with him to further strengthen and enhance relations between the two countries.

“On behalf of the government and the people of Cambodia, I would like to extend my most sincere and warmest congratulations, as well as my best wishes for further happiness, success, and continued prosperity for the friendly German people on this auspicious occasion which – 32 years ago – ended 28 years of Germany’s division, setting a new start for your nation with the rebuilding of the reunified German state,” he said.

Thuch said Cambodia has always treasured the friendly and cordial relations and the friendship and cooperation it has enjoyed with Germany, all of which have flourished in a wide-range of areas based on mutual respect and common goals to the deep satisfaction of both countries.

He also expressed his profound gratitude for Germany’s continued support for Cambodia’s socio-economic development in the fields of mine clearance, education, culture, good governance, energy rural development, social protection and decentralization, just to name a few topics, as it has greatly contributed to the reduction of poverty throughout Cambodia.

“Germany is a long-standing partner in mine action projects in Cambodia. Germany has been one of our major donors. It has contributed millions of dollars to Halo Trust every year for many years and has pledged to support Halo Trust until 2024,” he said.

The German embassy in Phnom Penh quoted Ambassador Messerer as saying: “Germany and the Kingdom of Cambodia are both committed to a rules-based international order, multilateralism and ASEAN integration.”

Regarding mine clearance issues, Prime Minister Hun Sen created the “Samdech Techo Project for Mine Action” which has now received donations totaling about $20 million from various business leaders, King Sihamoni and the Queen Mother, the Cambodian Red Cross, other elements of the private sector and philanthropists.

“Although this funding amount is not enough to make Cambodia mine-free, I believe it serves as an inspiration for all of us. In this regard, I would like to take this opportunity to ask for Germany’s kind consideration to continue their support to finish the job of achieving a mine-free Cambodia and addressing the problem of ERW in line with our National Mine Action Strategy 2018-2025,” Thuch said.

He continued that the appeal was also sincerely extended to all other mine action partners including Australia, Japan, US, UK, Norway, Switzerland, China, New Zealand, South Korea, Canada, Ireland, India, Hungary and UNDP.

Germany has announced an additional €3.5 million ($3.45) in assistance to HALO Trust to clear mines in Cambodia in 2020 and 2021 and also committed to helping Cambodia achieve its goal of being a mine-free country by 2025, which was made public via the German embassy’s Facebook page in early 2020.