Friday, March 5, 2010

Address at the Closing of the Stocktaking Workshop on the 5-Year Military Reform (2005-2009) and 5-Year Direction Setting (2010-2014)

Ministry of Defense, January 28, 2010

Your Excellencies Deputy Prime Ministers, Senior Ministers, Ministers, and Members of the Royal Government,

Your Excellencies Commander-in-Chief and Deputy Commander-in-Chief,

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Commanders, Deputy Commanders, Military Officers and Privates of all Units of the RCAF,

Ladies and Gentlemen, Military Attaché of Friend Countries,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!

Today it is my privilege and pleasure to be here with commanders, deputy commanders and military officers, representatives of all units of the RCAF and Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen in this stocktaking workshop on the 5-year military reforms (2005-2009) and 5-year direction setting for (2010-2014). This workshop allows us to reassess achievements, deficiencies and challenges to make the formulation of new plan consistent with other ministries/institutions and attainable for the purpose of socio-economic development. I am sure, during this two-day hectic schedule, you have successfully reviewed all major achievements during the 5-year reform (2005-2009) by coming up with in-depth analysis and recommendations for fine-tuning the next 5 years plan to accommodate Political Platform and Rectangular Strategy- Phase II of the fourth legislature of the National Assembly.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to extend my appreciation and sincerest regards to military officers and privates of the RCAF who, adding to their firm commitment to the constitution, Royal Government’s policies, laws and regulations, have transformed themselves into an armed force with dignity, honor and bravery for the cause of the Nation, Religion and King. Along with this, I would also like to extend my deepest gratitude to all compatriots, whose beloved husbands/wives, sons/daughters and relatives have been joining the army in all forces to protect the nation and I would also like to convey my profound gratitude and regards to all families of soldiers, including families of the killed-in-action, disabled, and demobilized soldiers. Taking this opportunity, I would also like to convey my admiration to all heroic soldiers, who are bravely protecting the nation’s sovereignty, peace and security and serving within the framework of the UN.

In this connection, I profoundly thank Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen who spare your time to visit and donate foods and other utilities to keep our heroic soldiers strong and in good condition for action and to relieve the burden of the Royal Government, and I encourage all of you to keep up this good deed. This deed represents the unity of the people and armed forces of Cambodia, who will always be united to protect peace, freedom, independence, sovereignty and development of the nation.

On behalf of the Royal Government and myself, I would like to extend my warmest welcome to all military attaché of friend countries and thank the people and governments of friend countries who have always supported RCAF’s reform and development programs.

Peace, territorial integrity and political stability that had been missed out for decades, have enabled Cambodia not only to implement reforms in all sectors, but also to develop human resources, build institutional capacity, strengthen socio-economic infrastructure and create favorable environment to attract local and foreign investment. At the same time, the Royal Government has been promoting reforms in all kinds of armed forces, aiming at strengthening quality, loyalty to the nation, respect of the constitution; and ensuring to abide by the discipline and morality as well as high expertise, which allow all armed forces to fulfill duties in protecting the country, ensuring national security and maintaining public order efficiently under all circumstances. In this spirit, the Royal Government has been putting out the principles and concrete measures, providing social land concession to handicapped, disabled, retired, dead soldiers and their families. Doings so means we are grateful their priceless contribution to the nation and people together with the commitment to support their livelihood in cash and in kind continually, including the provision of other subvention as well as providing honor, respect and dignity to our people in accordance with situation of our national economy.

In this regard, the Royal Government has always supported the Cambodian Royal Armed forces to actively engage with international communities in cooperation to prevent and combat all terrorism activities and subversion inside and outside the countries. In this vision, the Royal Government adheres strictly to policy not to tolerate any illegal military or political organizations, who intends to spark instability in Cambodia or use Cambodian land to conduct activities against neighboring countries. Furthermore, the Royal Government has been providing all kinds of support to develop and modernize national defense sector to be fully capable in parallel with situations and needs for social development in order to enable our Royal Cambodian Armed Forced to carry out role and duties efficiently.

The active workshop clearly reflects the historical and heroic mission of commander, deputy commander and armed force at all level. Today, I would like to additionally emphasize on some key guidelines and experience to promote the implementation of national defense policy and to pursue armed forces reform program in order to make them become a strong and core armed forces so that they would be able to preserve national independence, sovereignty, integrity, peace, political stability, security, national order, and national development. In the connection, our armed forces have to view our future based on current basis, strong and weak experience, challenges and opportunity in order that we can promptly address current issues in compliance with regional and global development context.

Indeed, our armed forces have profoundly implemented 5-year reform since 2000. We have experienced many difficulties and enormous sacrifice. In addition, we have successfully implemented “win-win policy” that brings to our people and country peace, national conciliation, certain and full national unity. We are aware that in early 21st century, technology has promoted infrastructure development at all sectors for humanity. However, compared to regional countries, Cambodia still has a big gap of human resource shortage that needs to be addressed. Therefore, the Ministry of Defense and Commander-in-chief continue to carry out 5-year armed forces reform by focusing on human resource development and promoting their capacity, so that our armed forces could stand equally with others in the region and in other developed countries.

On behalf of the Royal Government, the Ministry of Defense and Commander-in-chief, I would like to take the opportunity to recall to commander, deputy commander and armed forces at all level to continue to pay attention on some priority tasks as follows:

1. Must continue to strengthen the defense competitive advantage of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, especially at the border areas and at Military Region 3, 4 and 5.

2. Must continue to strengthen National Defense Strategic Plan and implementation with the focus on improving and positioning of the front lines units, building military barracks, defense communications system, supporting system, border road constructions, military strategic routes, and accommodation to prevent any encroachments to territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

3. Must continue to strengthen the quality of political, psychological and vocational training, laws, military rules and regulations that are related to the implementation of Royal Government’s policies to the armed forces in order to ensure the faithfulness and honesty to the Nation, Religion and King, respect of the constitution, laws, disciplines and rules of armed forces, high morality, nationalism and firmly follow the Royal Government’s leadership. At the same time, our armed forces must be equipped with professional skills to carry out their duties in defending the national territorial integrity-land, water/sea, airspace, national security, public order, independence and other national achievements as always. Moreover, armed forced must strongly cooperate with all levels of authorities to help our people in emergencies or disasters, to help clearing landmines and to build roads at remote areas, especially at front-line border areas.

4. Must continue to strengthen real human resources within the armed forces leadership with the focus on education, vocational training, and technological know-how on armed forced reforms more deeply and effectively. In this spirit, Commander-in-Chief, Deputies Commander-in-Chief, Commanders, Deputy Commanders, Officers and armed forces of all units of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces must take their strong efforts to carry out their duties and missions, as role models to lead in battles, in training, in agriculture to strengthen capacity and living standard of each unit and to live in harmony with armed forces. At the same time, they must continue strengthening their research studies to enhance the defense knowledge and other skills such as information technology as well as strengthening the international cooperation on military sector in both regional and global framework, aiming to develop and modernize the defense sector of Cambodia to be more competent and consistent with evolving situation and development of the nation and the world.

5. Must continue to implement the RCAF reform with high spirit of responsibility and ownership based on the foundation of policy for handicapped, disabled, retired, dead soldiers and their families. In the meantime, we must pay further attention to capacity building by following the rules and regulations of the Kingdom of Cambodia and improving the organizational chart of controlling and carefully preparing the soldiers to be regulated forces in order to ensure effectiveness and efficiency in their mission to maintain peace, stability, integrity, sovereignty, and social order.

6. Must pay attention to closely cooperate with related institutions, all levels of authorities, organizations, associations and various donors in order to effectively respond to the policy of the Royal Government for the armed forces, which is the sustainable social safety net, resulting from the efforts to ensure and enhance the living standard and pose favorable condition for the ex-soldiers, who have been handicapped, disabled, retired, demobilized, and their families, to be able to live as civilians with stability and harmonization with families and communities. These affairs include professional training; the support for living through allocating the social concession land, which is to provide opportunity for them to have land for building houses, making businesses and doing cultivation, which will be able to support their living as well as increasing socio-economic productivity.

7. Must pay attention to set up data system, which contains clear name lists according to each unit and create the mechanism to verify and constantly update by closely cooperating with the Ministry of Economy and Finance in order to strengthen the management on armed forces, who have been retired, disabled, handicapped and killed.

8. Must continue to improve the welfare of the armed forces by providing constantly sufficient food ration, medicines, medical counseling services in all military units as well providing good cooperation with health related institutions in order to ensure efficiency on the medical check-up for the soldiers, especially heroic fighters along Cambodian border.

9. Must strengthen and expand further cooperation between related military units and other civilian institutions with the objective to contribute upgrading capacity and local development of the each unit of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. Along with this, we must continue to build and strengthen military sector of the Kingdom of Cambodia to be a united national force with strong solidarity and be able to truly and actively contribute to the socio-economic development and assist Cambodian people in all circumstances of calamities in both national and international levels by playing roles as United Nations Peace Keeping Forces.

What I have put forward in the recommendations is just to highlight the real challenges and issues to be solved in order to push the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces to be strong, brave and stable on the long way toward the future. In this regard, I would like the management of the Ministry of National Defense, Commander-in-Chief, Commanders in all levels, Officers and all Soldiers of the RCAF, to continue their utmost physical, mental and spiritual efforts in order to successfully implement the next 5 year reform program (2010-2014). At the same time, I would like all the related ministries and institutions to continue to closely cooperate and support our RCAF to achieve their duties and obligations, which are the high interest of our nation and people.

At the end, together with the closing of “5-Year Stocktaking Workshop (2005-2009) for Military Reform and 5-Year Direction Setting (2010-2014), I would like to wish Excellencies Commander-in-Chief, Deputy Commander-in-Chiefs, Commanders, Deputy Commanders, Officers and all Soldiers in all military units, especially the heroic fighters, who are now stationing along the border as well as the military attaché of the friend countries, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, who are present here today, the four gems of Buddhist blessing: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.

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