A United States Embassy representative on Wednesday said that his country is committed to help clear landmines, in particular clusters bombs that were dropped in Cambodia’s north-east.
Ly Thuch, vice president of Cambodian Mine Action and Victims Assistance Authority on Wednesday met with the representative Michael Newbill at CMAA’s office to discuss several issues including in the mine action sector.
Mr Thuch yesterday said that during the meeting, he thanked and welcomed the United States’ longstanding support for the mine action sector in the Kingdom and outlined the government’s vision and commitment to achieve a landmine free Cambodia by 2025.
He also reiterated while Cambodia is facing the enormous problems of landmines killing many people in the northern provinces along the Cambodia-Thai border, huge cluster bombs dropped by US warplanes during the Vietnam War in the north-eastern region also represent a great challenge.
Mr Thuch said he urged the US to continue to support the government to help clear landmines and cluster and other bombs dropped by US warplanes.
“In reply, the US official stated the US will continue to support the mine action sector and that his country sees its support as an important obligation,” he said.
Mr Thuch noted that the US welcomes and supports the government’s vision and commitment to make Cambodia mine free by 2025 and looks forward to increasing its contributions to the mine action sector in the future.
“I reiterated and emphasised that the Royal Government of Cambodia, under the leadership of Samdech Prime Minister, wishes to build closer relationships and cooperation through the principle of mutual respect and non-interference with all friendly countries in the region and the world including with the US.” he added.
Mr Thuch said that since 1992, the US has provided more than $100 million through different operators [national and international demining operators] to the mine action sector.
US Embassy spokeswoman Emily Zeeberg yesterday said the US has a long history of working with its partners in the government, communities, and NGOs to address the problem of landmines and unexploded ordnance remaining as a legacy of internal and regional conflicts.
“We currently provide approximately $5 million in annual support for humanitarian demining activities to local partners such as the Cambodian Mine Action Center,” she said.
Ms Zeeberg added that over the past 25 years, the US has spent more than $160 million to fund clearance of landmines and other explosives, in addition to providing training, capacity building and mine detection equipment.