Senior government officials are lobbying the Vietnamese to sign the Ottawa treaty banning anti-personnel mines ahead of an upcoming meeting in November tackling the legacy of explosives used during wars in the region.
Returning from Hanoi, Prak Sokhon, Vice President of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority, told reporters at Phnom Penh International Airport yesterday he had broached the topic with senior Vietnamese officials during meetings last week.
During meetings with Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Deputy Defence Minister Nyuyen Thanh Cung, combined efforts to clear bombs and landmines remaining near the border from the second Indochina war were also discussed, he said.
“We informed Vietnam about the benefits to humanitarian interests that we achieved from the Ottawa treaty and learned of Vietnam’s concerns about becoming a member of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention,” he said.
At least 800 people from 130 countries will participate in a meeting from November 28 to December 2 in Phnom Penh to discuss the clearance of UXOs and mines, he added. Cambodia signed the Ottawa treaty in 2007.
The United States dropped or planted more than 15 million tonnes of bombs and mines over Vietnam during the second Indochina war of which about 800,000 tonnes remain unexploded, Vietnam News Service reported on Friday.
About 2.7 million tonnes of ordinance was dropped on Cambodia by the US between 1965 and 1973.