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Demining team departs for Lebanon

Demining team departs for Lebanon

Nearly 200 soldiers from the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces left yesterday morning for Lebanon, where they will take part in a United Nations peacekeeping operation.
A total of 219 soldiers – including 21 RCAF engineers who departed last week – will be working in heavily-mined areas of southern Lebanon and will also assist in the construction of roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
Addressing the troops at the military airbase in Phnom Penh, Minister of Defence Tea Banh said the government had made a strong commitment to international peacekeeping operations.
Cambodian soldiers have been involved in multiple peacekeeping operations in conflict zones since 2006, including Sudan, Chad and the Central African Republic.
Prak Sokhon, secretary of state at the Council of Ministers and chairman of the National Coordination Committee of UN Peacekeeping Operations, said that including yesterday’s departing soldiers, the number of Cambodian forces sent on peacekeeping missions has reached 845.
“Today’s departure is a new milestone in the Cambodian government’s commitment to greater and more active contributions to global peace and humanitarian causes,” he said.
Douglas Broderick, resident coordinator for the UN, recognised the country’s homegrown talent in demining operations, which has given the Kingdom a positive reputation in this area of peacekeeping.
“Skills built out of the necessity to clear mines from farmland, schools, hospitals and roads right here in Cambodia have became an asset highly valued by other countries,” Broderick said.
Four of the soldiers being stationed in Lebanon are women, including Sein Sok Phirum, a 22-year-old deminer from Takeo province. She said that she was happy to be involved in a peacekeeping mission, and viewed it as an opportunity to “bring more honour and success for my country”.