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Former UNTAC chief due back to visit

Former UNTAC chief due back to visit

A USTRALIA'S Chief of General Staff, John Sanderson, is to visit Cambodia in

October for the first time since he ended his mission as commander of a

15,000-strong UN peacekeeping force two years ago.

Sanderson will be

preceded by his boss, Chief of Defence Forces General John Baker, who will be

here from Sept 12 to 14.

Sanderson and Baker have only recently be

appointed to the top positions in Australian defence and are visiting Cambodia

as part of routine familiarization to countries with which Canberra has military

agreements.

They are expected to meet their Cambodian counterparts, visit

cooperation projects and pay courtesy visits on political leaders. Sanderson is

likely to visit in early October.

The Australian armed forces provide

Cambodia with non-lethal military aid, including training in telecommunications

and mine clearing and naval maintenance.

Sanderson arrived in Cambodia in

March 1992 as head of the military wing of the UN Transitional Authority in

Cambodia (UNTAC), which brought together more than 15,000 soldiers from more

than 30 countries at the height of its mandate.

The soldiers were sent to

demobilize troops of rival Cambodian factions following the signing of the 1991

peace accords, but when the Khmer Rouge reneged on it, they ended up providing

security for elections in 1993.

The polls were a success in terms of

turnout and ultimately led to the establishment of the present coalition

government.

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