Monday, March 9, 2009

Selected Comments at the Inauguration of the Military Region 5 (MR-5) in the province of Battambang

21 January 08

First of all I would seek your understanding when I reschedule my presence here on December 01, 2007 due to the fact that I had to facilitate the visit of the Prime Minister of Myanmar. Late is better than never. My wife whose effort has been so decisive to come and help with the development here is falling sick and is therefore not able to join me in this trip. It is indeed so impressed that we have many new achievements. These are achievements of the whole nation and also particularly the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces in MR-5 which is entrusted with the task to ensure security in the northwestern territory.

I am so pleased with the report that is provided by HE General Bun Seng. In the name of the Royal Government and my own behalf, I express my sincere appreciation and congratulations to commanders and sub-commanders who have pooled together their efforts to build up shelters and offer help to needy people. Why the MR-5 took it so long to have its headquarter built compared to other MR? In the past we did not assign it as MR but we called different areas as region 1, region 2, region 3 and region 4. Later on we have developed them into MR. But this MR used to be under command of the MR-4 which was in Siemreap province.

After the creation of the province of Banteay Mean Chey on January 1988, the MR-5 was established for operation in the northwest region which covers the provinces of Kompong Chhnang, Pursat, Battambang through to Banteay Meanchey. Their headquarters was an old pagoda with Gen. Prum Din as commander. We later moved here and settled down with boxes left from the UNTAC (United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia) time. Now we have built a good headquarters. What impressed us all is the fact that the construction did not cost national budget or the budget of the Ministry of National Defense at all. It was built thanks to the resource sharing method for which I am taking this opportune moment to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to those contributors.

It should also be noted that contributors not only share their resources helping the MR-5 but also other MR as well. I also would like to thank the MR-9 of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam for extending their assistance in the construction of all buildings. All forms of assistance have been molded into hospital, residences, etc. I also thank the Royal Thai Infantry for providing a sum of money for the construction and the US command for Asia and the Pacific for a building they provided as study operation for terrorism and drug in the province of Banteay Meanchey.

I am so glad to have listened to the ten-year progress report, which gives me a complete different scene to what I used to see. Ten years ago when I traveled from one place to another I always heard the report about armed clashes and dead body counting and damages. But thanks to the win-win policy, we have peace, national unity and reconciliation, and we all are aware that it is the best moment we have as the country is now united after many conflicts and wars tearing us apart. Cambodia was never one country even when we were under the French or the Japanese or after the independence in 1953 because we still had armed clashed in various places take for instance in Samlot, Battambang province.

So some parts of the country had not been under the Government complete control and various Cambodians from different tendencies had been referred to in colors - red, white, blue, pink, etc. There was this effort at that time to establish sub-provinces aimed at countering armed actions by some rebel groups when in 1967 and 1968 there was strong attacks on the Government forces. In 1970, Cambodia was split into two parts - one side controlled by Lon Nol's regime with help from foreign forces and another by the liberation forces also with help from foreign countries as well.

Between 1979 through to 1993 the country was under four different controls and through to 1998 Cambodia went back to two parts where one side was under the Royal Government and the other was under Democratic Kampuchea. The win-win policy has provided the people of Cambodia the opportunity to work together as we all are of same flesh and blood. I am so proud to have been founder of the win-win policy. Politically, what Gen. Bun Song said is correct but if we were to have no people's support, no commanders and soldiers' supports in the whole country, the win-win policy would not be able to take effect.

In fact I had a plan to capture Anlong Veng before the Khmer New Year in 1997, but it was not implementable because of the fact that there had been conflicts in Phnom Penh, while in Battambang HE Ung Sami and Serei Kosal were not in tone so I have no one to conduct negotiation with Khieu Samphan. What could we do in the front if we had problem in the rear? The Samlot area, as far as it is concerned, were twice integrated - in 1996 and again 1998. When they heard about what happens in Anlong Veng, a part of Samklot's integrated forces took to the jungle again. Indeed if we were to have no setback in Phnom Penh, we could have reunited Anlong Veng before the Khmer New Year in 1997 already.

After we encircled and stopped the fighters in Phnom Penh, one faction claimed to have what they believe to be balance of force like the former Soviet Union and the United States, we have finally achieved the goal, which is to hold hands with one another and sit down working together. Gradually in one year Anlong Veng also joined in the elections in July 1998. With regard to the win-win policy, my mother and and my aunt, both of whom have passed away already, asked me in closed door why I decided to go to the enemy region. I told them that if the worst happened, only I and perhaps a hundreds other people going with me would die but if it did not happen, I would have the whole country back in peace. Let's imagine if I did not go to Malay, Phnom Proeuk, Kamrieng and Samlot, would those people have trust in the win-win policy.

What we have now to settle for them is the road. Road 53 will be built in March and we have roads 57 and 10 under preparation so as to connect Battambang to Pailin and to the border with Thailand. We will take Pailin as the place for groundbreaking ceremony to build the road and we should invite all provincial governors to take part. Battambang has indeed been changing a lot with so many hotels going up and many more investments are on the way. More bridges will be built across the Sangke River. The armed forces have been so destructive in the past blowing up bridges, placing mines, but we Cambodians also implement the win-win policy to unite our country without wasting a bullet either.

I would recall that the win-win policy is built up on three principles - first, the guarantee for personal life, second, the guarantee for employment and jobs, and third, the guarantee for property and ownership. No one loses anything. We are a happy family now. We destroy rifles. No one loses in this game. I am happy to see that our people from different factions before have now taken similar uniform under the motto of nation, religion and King. Cambodia is a one-state nation with full territorial integrity. We have to strive to keep peace that we have won with hardship. It is our diamond opportunity.

Our armed forces no longer cut the roads, fight here and there, report of dead or injuries, but all are taking training, studying law, learning ways to improve combat skills and living conditions, helping with treatments to soldiers and civilians, de-mining and rebuilding villages and comm0unes.

In Cambodia we have so many odd things. Monarchy revived after being dead for 23 three years. In Cambodia we also have the royals involved in politics. But once involved in politics, they are politicians and will face with all circumstances across the board like others. There is no exception. In Thailand, the royals do not take part in politics. Because of doing so the Thai monarchy is free from all political stories. To once again regain peace after along time is also unimaginable.

Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen offers three residential buildings and one building for the de-mining unit, computers and accessories, and ambulance for the MR-5, a three floors school building with 15 classrooms to the Support Community of Anlong Vil.

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