Friday, May 29, 2009

Remarks at the Opening Workshop on Maritime Security

Raffles Le Royal, Phnom Penh, 26th May 2009

- H.E. Carol A. Rodley, US Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia,

- H.E. Margaret Adamson, Australian Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia,

- Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!

I have known that many of you Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen have traveled a long way to gather here for the cause of contributing and sharing your experiences to make sure that Cambodia has the foundation of knowledge for preparing and creating its new institution to be in charge of Maritime Security. I would like to highly evaluate your physical and mental sacrifices for the joint assessment on the general situation of our Maritime Security. In November 2007, I presided over this workshop once, during which my speech clearly notified the participants that the Maritime Security is a key factor for national security, peace and socio-economic development. In particular, the Maritime Security will contribute, as a regional and global partner, to the fight against pirate activities; illegal drugs and human trafficking, and other activities related to the regional and global security and in the meantime participating in the combat against terrorism acts across the world.

The workshop in 2007 actually integrated and promoted the awareness of the Maritime Security to participants as well providing the Royal Government with the vision of building and developing the capacity of Maritime Security. For this workshop, through the special working group in charge of Maritime Affairs, I would like to urge for the creation of The National Committee for Maritime Security (NCMS) in three months after this workshop. As experienced by many countries, this National Committee will comprise of the Minister of National Defense who is the Chairman, and the Vice-chairman and other members will be the representatives from related ministries and institutions. At the same time, the establishment of the Secretariat, which is an agency for this National Committee, has to be quickly established at the time of setting up of the National Committee for Maritime Security.

On the 17th of April 2009, the National Counter-Terrorism Committee (NCTC) established a working group under the leadership of His Excellency Senior Minister Om Yin Tieng to carry out three main tasks toward setting up a national mechanism for maritime security. This has boasted the spirit of the first workshop on maritime security held on 27-28 November 2007.

This working group has assisted His Excellency the Admiral of the French Navy, head of the squadron in charge of the Indian Ocean that has captured pirates three times in the area. Furthermore, this working group has met and discussed with legal teams from the US and Australia specialized in maritime security.

As recommendations, I would like to draw your attention on two main points. Firstly, the institution in charge of maritime security should be organized to respond to current trends and reality. The main responsibility should fall into the armed forces’ jurisdiction, especially that of the navy with active coordination from specialized institutions and sectors, such as: customs and excise, fisheries, commerce, environment, industry and mines, petroleum authority, criminal police, maritime police, immigration police, air force, maritime transport and port authorities etc. I believe that the National Committee for Maritime Security needs to be composed of these mix elements in order to ensure this vast and comprehensive task. We have no difficulty in organizing these components together, thus we need not to wait!

Secondly, this National Committee can bear the name as the "National Committee for Maritime Security" or any other names. But, the important thing is that the institution needs to carry out its main task, which is to prepare sufficient laws in line with national and international legislations to ensure smooth conduct of maritime security activities. Operations in any foreign vessel need to respect national laws of the country where the vessel is transiting. For this, national legislations need to be strong and conform with international laws to ensure vessel owners' confidence.

Regarding Maritime Security, the national law must clearly reflect the international law aiming at ensuring the support to our operation from foreign vessels’ owners. In the sense, the Secretariat of the National Committee for Maritime Security should be comprised of a large amount of great lawyers to carry out their up-coming hard duties.

The task force for preparing the national mechanism for maritime security has decided to launch a seminar which I am confident that it would produce more fruitful achievements. Furthermore, the team must be ready to draft necessary acts to establish the national mechanism for maritime security and timely submit to the Legal Council of the Council of Minister for review. Then, I believe that the national mechanism for maritime security is responsible for effectively forming its secretariat, human resource, lawyers and several operational sectors.

From the first seminar to the second, it takes 19 months. For this second seminar, I believe that the 3-months time is long enough for the team to well and completely perform its task.

The seminar should pay more attention on the vision of maritime security - the relationship between maritime security and other security related issues - and the international relation of national mechanism for maritime security which are created by the national committee for maritime security and invite experts from the United States and Australia to share their experiences on the issue.

Taking the opportunity, I would like to praise to Secretariat of the National Committee for Maritime Security and the American and Australian partners for their good cooperation in launching this seminar.

I would like to express my appreciation to and wish all delegates, Lok Chumteav, Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, national and international guests, good health and new achievements.

Let me now give the discussion about the establishment of the National Committee for Maritime Security to the seminar.


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