Cambodia establishes committee for destruction of chemical weapons/war remnants

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Picture taken on October 30, 2013 shows employees in protective gear unloading a dummy grenade during a demonstration in the chemical weapons disposal facility at GEKA. AFP

Cambodia’s Deputy PM and Defence minister Tea Banh held a meeting with the concerned ministers, seeking ways on how to address the long-time impacts of  chemical weapons and war remnants.
 
 “Today, we have to start another step further that falls in line with the new developing situation,” Tea Banh told the meeting recently. 
 
A report of the Defence ministry seen by Khmer Times over the weekend  states that, Defence minister Tea Banh will chair the National Authority for the committee  and that Cambodia has ratified the chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) with the United Nations.
 
The committee will set up its team and seek ways on  how to destroy  chemical weapons found in  Sen Monorom in O Raing Ov district, located in the  North-eastern province  of  Mondulkiri, along the  border with Vietnam. 
 
The hilly province is part of the Ho Chi Minh Trail in the Vietnam War 1965 – 1975 during which time the U.S. had heavily  dropped bomb on the communist, Viet Cong, who hid in Cambodia and tried to capture the pro-U.S. ally, South Vietnam.
 
The report said that biological weapons, radioactive and nuclear contaminated materials are also found in other parts of this kingdom.
 
The committee will work with stakeholders and concerned international organizations on how to destroy such war remnants, ensuring that any destruction of these materials would  not affect social security and the environment, it said.
 
The committee will be supported by three deputies, including environment minister Say Sam Al; Secretary of state of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Ouch Borith; Secretary of state of mine and energy, Ith Praing, and Secretary of State of Finance and Economy, Chou Vichet. The committee has 26 members.
 
Cambodia became the 170th State  to ratify the Convention and a Member State of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on 18 August in 2005. 
 
Cambodia, in 2005, is the ninth member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to join the Convention. Cambodia’s ratification brings Asia closer to universal membership as only a few States in Asia remain outside the jurisdiction of the Convention.

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