Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - German president observes mine clearance in Siem Reap

German president observes mine clearance in Siem Reap

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife Elke Budenbender observe demining work in Siem Reap on February 14. HALO TRUST CAMBODIA

German president observes mine clearance in Siem Reap

German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife Elke Budenbender on February 14 touched down in Siem Reap province, where they observed mine clearance activities and pledged to help Cambodia achieve its mine-free 2025 goal.

Ly Thuch, Senior Minister and First Vice-President of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), accompanied Steinmeier during the field visit. He said the German leader witnessed mine clearance operations by HALO Trust in Prasat Char village of Puok district’s Donkeo commune.

Thuch, on behalf of the government, welcomed Steinmeier and his entourage and thanked them for paying an official visit to Cambodia as Germany is hosting a meeting on the Ottawa Treaty this year.

“I would like to thank the government and the people of Germany for their contribution to humanitarian assistance in demining actions by HALO Trust.

“Since 2016, Germany has provided more than €17 million [around $18.3 million] for demining work which covers more than 23sq km consisting of 578 mine fields. This benefits more than 130,000 people,” Thuch said.

According to HALO Trust, Steinmeier was led through a minefield and shown how to destroy a landmine.

“The German government has funded HALO’s clearance operations in Cambodia since 2016 and we are enormously grateful for their continued support of this life-saving work,” said the international demining NGO in a social media post.

Thuch said Germany has also provided funding for mine action to the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) since 1999, which so far totalled over $19 million. The funds have been used to clear minefields of more than 30sq km.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Germany support mine actions in Cambodia to help the country achieve mine-free status by 2025. The German president said he supported mine clearance in line with the ‘mine-free Cambodia 2025’ vision,” Thuch told reporters at the field.

He said Steinmeier’s visit to Cambodia is a historic event, not only because it is his first but also because he directly visited minefields.

“This visit is really important and provides motivation for Germany to contribute more to support our mine clearance work, supporting the prime minister’s vision of a mine-free Cambodia 2025,” he added.

According to the itinerary, Steinmeier also visited the Angkor Wat temple complex and the German Apsara Conservation Project that day.

On February 15, he will meet with Senate President Say Chhum, the acting Head of State, and lay wreaths at Independence Monument and the statue of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk.

Steinmeier will also meet with Prime Minister Hun Sen, visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and meet with representatives of the opposition and civil society organisations before flying to Malaysia on February 16 as part of his Indo-Pacific tour.


  • Joy as Koh Ker Temple registered by UNESCO

    Cambodia's Koh Ker Temple archaeological site has been officially added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on September 17. The ancient temple, also known as Lingapura or Chok Gargyar, is located in

  • Famed US collector family return artefacts to Cambodia

    In the latest repatriation of ancient artefacts from the US, a total of 33 pieces of Khmer cultural heritage will soon return home, according to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. In a September 12 press statement, it said the US Attorney’s Office for the

  • Tina rebuffs ‘false claims’ over falling paddy price

    Agriculture minister Dith Tina has shed light on the trade of paddy rice in Battambang – Cambodia’s leading rice-producing province – in a bid to curb what he dubs a “social media fact distortion campaign” to destabilise the market. While acknowledging that the prices of paddy

  • Cambodia set to celebrate Koh Ker UNESCO listing

    To celebrate the inscription of the Koh Ker archaeological site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the Ministry of Cults and Religion has appealed to pagodas and places of worship to celebrate the achievement by ringing bells, shaking rattles and banging gongs on September 20. Venerable

  • Kampot curfew imposed to curb ‘gang’ violence

    Kampot provincial police have announced measures to contain a recent spike in antisocial behaviour by “unruly’ youth. Officials say the province has been plagued by recent violence among so-called “gang members”, who often fight with weapons such as knives and machetes. Several social observers have

  • PM outlines plans to discuss trade, policy during US visit

    Prime Minister Hun Manet is set to meet with senior US officials and business leaders during his upcoming visit to the US for the UN General Assembly (UNGA), scheduled for September 20. While addressing nearly 20,000 workers in Kampong Speu province, Manet said he aims to affirm