Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US extends demining support by 2 months

US extends demining support by 2 months

CMAC officials remove a US chemical bomb last month in Svay Rieng’s Koki commune.
CMAC officials remove a US chemical bomb last month in Svay Rieng’s Koki commune. Photo supplied

US extends demining support by 2 months

After saying last week that it will discontinue funding for Cambodia’s mine-clearing body at the end of this year, the US Embassy announced it will provide the Cambodian Mine Action Centre additional funding for the first two months of 2018.

Meanwhile, the Japanese government has committed to providing more than $7 million to demining in the northwest beginning in January, officials said yesterday.

CMAC head Heng Ratana said yesterday the US Embassy had notified him that they would provide $350,000 for January and February – an amount he said would give them some leeway in preparing for US aid cuts.

The US government cut its annual support for CMAC’s demining activity last week amid an escalating war of words between the two governments. For eight years it had provided just over $2 million annually for demining in the east – which it heavily bombed in the late 1960s and 1970s.

“We made this decision to guarantee there is no disruption in these demining activities while the tender for our new project is under way,” US Embassy spokesman David Josar said via email yesterday, referring to a new removal programme whose funding will be open to bids.

Ratana said he had notified Prime Minister Hun Sen, who he said was “encouraged” by the move. Since the decision to suspend the funding, the Cambodian government declared it would take responsibility for supporting CMAC, and China earlier this week pledged funding for demining efforts.

“I hope that [the] continuing [of] support from the United States . . . will reduce some difficulties,” Ratana said.

Meanwhile, Ratana confirmed that CMAC signed two contracts totalling some $7.3 million with the Japan International Cooperation System. One contract for $3.5 million supports some 500 mine-clearance personnel for all of next year in Battambang, while the other $3.7 million provides equipment for minesweepers – materials that are slated to arrive in March.

MOST VIEWED

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group