US To Deliver First Shipment of Military Equipment Since 1997

The first direct supply of US military equipment to Cambodia in more than a decade will be handed over today at a ceremony at Pochentong Air Base in Phnom Penh, officials said.

The delivery of 31 used cargo trucks to RCAF represents the first gift of military supplies by the US since 1997, when Washington halted military assistance following factional fighting in July 1997 between elements from the CPP and Funcinpec.

The US Foreign Military Fi­nancing program has pledged $413,000 to deliver a total of 60 cargo trucks, said US Embassy spokesman Jeff Daigle.

“It’s a reflection of the developing relationship between our two militaries,” Daigle said by telephone Sunday.

In October 2006, when the two nations restored military ties, RCAF and the US Pacific Com­mand conducted a joint defense assessment and noted mobility as one area for improvement.

According to a US Embassy statement, 16 of the M35A2 GMC cargo trucks will go to RCAF units with missions directly related to peacekeeping operations, 10 will go to counter terrorism forces and five will go to the 31st Naval Infantry Brigade for maritime security.

Pang Savan, director of international relations at the Ministry of Defense, confirmed the trucks would be used by naval forces, anti-terrorism units and de-mining units.

“This donation represents the close cooperation between Cam­bodia and the US. It is non-lethal, humanitarian aid,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Pin Sisovann)

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