Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Sen orders ‘Albatross’ jets on Czech visit

Hun Sen orders ‘Albatross’ jets on Czech visit

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (left) and his Czech counterpart Andrej Babis on Monday. HUN SEN’S FACEBOOK PAGE

Hun Sen orders ‘Albatross’ jets on Czech visit

Cambodia will upgrade its arsenal with Czech military hardware through the purchase of L-39 “Albatross” training jets, Prime Minister Hun Sen said after a bilateral meeting with Czech counterpart Andrej Babis on Monday.

“I would like to confirm that Cambodia had already bought six L-39 jets before. This morning, I discussed the possibility of buying three or four new L-39s to be used as patrolling jets.

“I hope that the Czech Republic, which is an old friend and close ally of Cambodia, will continue to support the Kingdom as it travels down the path of democracy in a peaceful and sustainable manner without disruption.

“I also wish to thank the Czech Republic, which once again came forward to support Cambodia in the EU framework.

“I hope that other countries in Europe will treat Cambodia as fairly as [Babis],” he said, as he thanked the Czech government for its continued support for Cambodia in the European Parliament.

Hun Sen said he would happily welcome the Czech prime minister to Cambodia at an appropriate time so that the two leaders can exchange ideas to bring bilateral relations between the countries to “a new level”.

He left the Kingdom on Sunday for state visits to the Czech Republic, Hungary and Bulgaria – all of which can veto the decision to withdraw the Kingdom’s ‘Everything But Arms’ (EBA) agreement.

Babis hailed Cambodia’s economic development and promised to improve relations and cooperation in all sectors, especially in trade and national defence.

He pledged to support Cambodia ahead of the EU’s decision on whether to withdraw, keep or limit the EBA agreement.

Cambodia’s access to EBA, which sees lower tariffs placed on the vast majority of the Kingdom’s exports to the 28-member bloc, was worth some $5.8 billion last year and is currently under review.

The Kingdom is currently under a monitoring period, with the European Commission set to present its final report in a few weeks time.

“With regards to EBA withdrawal by the European Commission, the Czech Republic holds the view that the [preferential tariff system] is a very important tool and Cambodia has a positive stance regarding human rights.

“We believe that the EU will discuss this issue and we will resolve it,” Babis said.

Ministry of National Defence spokesman Chhum Socheat was unable to comment on the price of the jet purchase, but told The Post that they were necessary “to defend territory and the nation”.

International Relations Institute of the Royal Academy of Cambodia director Kin Phea told The Post that he believes the Kingdom needs to strengthen its military in the wake of regional and international security developments.

The L-39 jet, with over five-million flying hours, is the highest-selling jet-powered training jet in the world, according to website globalsecurity.com. It is deployed by the militaries of Russia, Vietnam, Thailand, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria among others.

“A [solid] national defence foundation and the purchase of the jets will only serve to protect the nation.

“Other countries in the region have strongly developed their defence strategies, so we must also dare to spend some of the national budget to strengthen the capacity of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.

“The Czech Republic has a realistic assessment of Cambodia and the EU. Their views could be the basis for the EU’s EBA decision,” Phea said.

Former Supreme Court-Dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker Ou Chanrath expressed hope that the jet purchase would improve the Kingdom’s defence capabilities and Czech-Cambodia relations.

However, he said that the Czech Republic could rarely sway the EU’s decisions.

“Buying weapons is crucial to maintaining security and territorial integrity. It is completely normal and forges closer relations between countries.

“However, Eastern European allies of Cambodia can’t ensure positive results either politically or economically,” Chanrath claimed.

Watch video:


  • Draft law on state of emergency pending finalisation

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead a top-level meeting on Tuesdays to review the draft law on imposing a state of emergency. Meantime, he has decided to close all casinos in Cambodia effective April 1. In the press conference after the National Assembly met today, Hun

  • Stranded passengers petition UK for help

    Some 10,521 foreigners in Cambodia, the bulk being from the UK, have signed an online petition calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and relevant officials to fly them out of the Kingdom. The petition is targeted at 15,000 foreigners. Among them are nearly 200 Europeans, the majority

  • State of emergency on table amid pandemic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, his deputy prime ministers and legal team will meet on Tuesday to review the draft law on declaring a state of emergency, as Covid-19 cases rose to 107 in the Kingdom on Monday. Speaking at a press conference after a parliament meeting

  • Covid-19 Pandemic: Force majeure and legal consequences

    Is the Covid-19 pandemic considered an event of force majeure? The World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak a pandemic on March 11. Following this declaration, the Ministry of Health and other ministries have taken various legal and administrative measures to prevent the rapid

  • PM set to mend ties with US

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has responded to US Congressman Ted Yoho, saying he is ready to improve Cambodia-US relations, and not take up issues of disagreements which have become a barrier between the two countries’ bilateral cooperation. His response to Yoho came after the congressman

  • Mysterious century-old structure found at bottom of Angkor pond

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has discovered a mysterious 1,000-year-old structure of a wooden building at the bottom of a pond after the Angkor Wat temple’s conservation team completed restoring its northern cave. The deputy director at ANA’s Angkor International Research and Documentation