The 14th anniversary of the Paris Peace Agreements came and went on Sunday without official speeches or ceremonies to mark the occasion.
The day, which used to be a national holiday to celebrate the peace agreements signed in Paris on Oct 23, 1991, between Cambodia’s warring factions was removed from the national holiday calendar this year.
Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak said Monday that the government did not mean to downplay the importance of the agreements but that Cambodia simply had too many holidays.
“The reason is that the annual [number of] holidays in Cambodia is higher than in other countries, and since Cambodia is a poor country how can we have that many holidays?” he said.
Cambodians will now get a holiday for the anniversary of King Norodom Sihamoni’s coronation on Oct 29, Khieu Sopheak said.
But not everyone was happy.
The Son Sann Foundation on Sunday issued a declaration urging citizens, political leaders and parties “to respect the spirit of the Paris Peace Agreement.”
“It is still relevant to express our gratitude to the international community that put an end to Cambodia’s conflicts and the Vietnamese occupation,” Son Soubert, chairman of the foundation, said by telephone, adding that the government could have canceled other, less important holidays.
“We should remember what the international community has done,” he added.