Cambodia To Send Peacekeepers to Sudan

Cambodia will send a team of RCAF soldiers to assist in a UN mis­sion aiming to provide peace and security in war-torn Sudan, ac­cording to a statement by released by the Coun­cil of Ministers Friday.

Prime Minister Hun Sen agreed to allow the Ministry of Defense to send 15 RCAF officers, ranking from captain to lieutenant colonel, as UN peacekeepers to the northeastern African country, the statement read.

The soldiers will be rigorously ex­amined for their English, health and political neutrality, it said.

The Defense Ministry will later send an additional group of 135 RCAF soldiers to help demining efforts there, the statement added.

Depending on the UN’s re­quest, Hun Sen said Friday that Cam­bo­dia can send up to 1,000 troops for UN missions around the world, the Council of Ministers said.

Tea Banh, co-Minister of De­fense, said Sunday that the 15 officers have already been selected.                   “We are waiting for a timeline from the UN to send them to Su­dan,” he said. “The UN pays for everything for our RCAF officers to join the mission,” Tea Banh ad­ded. “The government has no ability to pay them.”

Soun Samnang, head of the De­fense Ministry’s international af­fairs department, said Sunday that the men chosen to go to Sudan par­ticipated in the 1993 UN Tran­sitional Authority in Cambodia mission and were thus experienced working with the UN.

“It is time for Cambodia to work overseas,” Soun Samnang said. “More than 10 years ago, Cam­bo­dia was [affected by] insecurity and UN forces came to Cambodia to help monitor peace and organize security…but now Cambodia is helping other countries. It is a good example for others.”

Pouk Sary, information officer for RCAF Division 12, also said he was happy to see Cambodia participate with the UN in Sudan.

“Now we are at peace, we have to assist other countries that are un­stable,” he said. “We are happy to see our soldiers’ presence in ano­ther country.”

Hun Sen has unleashed regular public criticism of the work achiev­ed by the Untac mission, and on se­veral occasions has blam­ed UN peacekeepers for bringing HIV to Cambodia.


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