Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - King speaks of ‘golden’ chance to clear mines

King speaks of ‘golden’ chance to clear mines

King speaks of ‘golden’ chance to clear mines

111129_04
Secretary of State Prak Sokhonn, who was formally named as president of the 11th Meeting of the States Parties, speaks yesterday in Phnom Penh during a conference on the banning of landmines.

The first day of an international conference on the banning of landmines opened yesterday in Phnom Penh with a rare address by King Norodom Sihamoni, who described the diplomatic meeting as a “golden opportunity” and a “springboard” to a mine-free world.

Speaking via video tape to the crowd of more than 1,000 delegates at the 11th annual Meeting of the States Parties, the King reiterated the need for continued international support, in what has become a common talking-point of high-level Cambodian officials.

“I extend my gratitude to all foreign experts, our compatriots and especially those deminers who risk their lives. However, greater commitment and further dedication is needed to complete the mission as soon as possible,” the King said.

The formal announcement of Cambodian Secretary of State Prak Sokhonn as president of the 11th Meeting of the States Parties was also made yesterday, marking the first time a Cambodian has held the position.

Sokhonn, who is vice-president of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority, said his main goal over the next year would be to “push for compliance and implementation of the convention”, which prohibits the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines. Also known as the Ottawa Treaty, the 1997 Convention additionally calls for its signatories to achieve mine-free status within 10 years and to provide “adequate” assistance to mine victims.

During yesterday’s proceedings, Finland announced it would accede to the Convention, becoming the 159th state to do so, and Burundi, to much applause, declared it had removed all anti-personnel mines from its borders.

Phnom Penh, which is playing host to the 11th annual Meeting of the States Parties for the first time in the conference’s history, provided a poetic backdrop for many speakers yesterday, who described the Kingdom as the “cradle of the mine-ban movement”.

“It was during the early 1990s that Cambodia was highlighted as showing the horrors of anti-personnel mines and the human and socioeconomic damage they can cause,” Steve Goose, head of delegation for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, said.

“It was the activists here in Cambodia that gave strength to what became the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • Sam Rainsy, government group set to clash at IPU Geneva meet?

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy has been invited to speak at the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, according to a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker. A government delegation is also set to attend the meeting, a National Assembly press release