The Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) and the Chinese Relief Association for Saving Cambodians (RASC) on October 25 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to mobilise resources from Chinese investors at home and abroad to support demining work in Preah Sihanouk province.
The signing ceremony was held in Preah Sihanouk province with the MoU co-signed by CMAA secretary-general Prum Sopheak Mongkol and RASC director Wang Jiang in the presence of provincial governor Kouch Chamroeun and CMAA first vice-president Ly Thuch.
Thuch said that with the approval of Prime Minister Hun Sen, CMAA on September 6 tried mobilising resources from Chinese donors to complete mine clearance and removal of explosive remnants of war (ERW) amid rapid development in the province.
“This is the first signing ceremony for the demining sector in Cambodia with China helping to mobilise resources from the private sector, people at home and abroad,” he said.
“This ceremony was born out of historical, immortal, and priceless strategic relations. It is a comprehensive and strategic partnership full of closeness like an inseparable tongue and teeth between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the People’s Republic of China.
He added that for the demining sector in Cambodia, China had worked with the Kingdom since 2015 and had provided support through funding, equipment, technology and human resource training. The latest assistance will help Preah Sihanouk remove the threat of landmines and ERW and ensure people’s safety and development in the province.
RASC director Wang said the association registered with the Ministry of Interior in 2020. But the association has been cooperating with CMAA since June 2019 to learn about demining activities and has also participated in the prevention of Covid-19.
“[The] association has the great honour to earn the prime minister’s confidence and to join the Royal Government of Cambodia to raise funds from civil society organisations, other associations and Chinese businessmen for supporting the demining action sector in Preah Sihanouk. This province will become mine-free by 2025,” he said.
He added that the MoU marked the beginning of the association’s participation in demining activities.
Provincial governor Chamroeun said at the ceremony that landmines and ERW are an issue that needs close attention because it is one of the main problems hindering the development of the province. It also destroys social resources, leaving people dead and disabled.
“I hope that the signing of the MoU between CMAA and the association will save people in Cambodia and help address concerns,” he said.
He said Preah Sihanouk province covers 2,658.90sq km, including 5.5sq km of minefields, equivalent to 48 minefields which have not been cleared yet.
According to CMAA’s research data, since 1979 the province has recorded 556 casualties with 197 fatalities.