Defence Minister General Tea Banh and senior military officers are in New York to attend tomorrow’s UN Peacekeeping Ministerial Conference along with UN Secretary-General António Guterres and representatives of other UN member states.
Gen Banh and his delegation left Phnom Penh International Airport on Tuesday to attend the conference under the theme “2019 United Nations Peacekeeping Ministerial on Uniformed Capabilities, Performance and Protection” at the UN headquarters in New York.
A Defence Ministry statement issued before his trip said Gen Banh will spend five days in New York and would return to Cambodia on Saturday. He is expected to outline the Cambodian government’s commitment to UN peacekeeping during the conference.
Gen Banh wrote on his Facebook page yesterday that the main purpose of the conference is to address the capability and effectiveness of peacekeepers sent on missions and their protection.
According to a UN statement top officials from around the world are expected to reaffirm their commitment to support UN peacekeeping missions and discuss concrete ways in which their countries will work towards strengthening their uniformed personnels’ capabilities.
“The 2019 Peacekeeping Ministerial Conference will build on the discussions of the preparatory meetings held in Montevideo on training and capacity building, in The Hague on protection and performance, and in Addis Ababa on women, peace and security,” the statement said. “In the course of the meeting, Ministers are expected to highlight progress on relevant commitments …as well as announce specific pledges of key peacekeeping capabilities requested in the United Nations Peacekeeping Uniformed Capability Requirements Paper, including training and capacity-building support, support to the women peace and security agenda, and related partnership initiatives,” it added.
General Sem Sovanny, director-general of the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces who is with the delegation in New York, told local media before leaving that Cambodia is preparing to include other types of personnel, including military police officers, for peacekeeping work apart from engineers and deminers.
Cambodia is expected to expand its contribution to UN missions and send more Cambodian blue helmets to Yemen, which is undergoing conflict between two factions since 2015, he added.
Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday announced that the government would spend $15 million to purchase armoured vehicles for the protection of Cambodian UN peacekeepers in Mali.
During a speech at a graduation ceremony yesterday, Mr Hun Sen elaborated on the move and said that Cambodia will not withdraw its peacekeepers from the African country even if the situation becomes too dangerous.
“We won’t allow our unarmed troops to get injured,” he said. “Now, we will equip them with armoured vehicles mounted with 12.7 or 14.5 millimetre machine guns to keep them safe.”