Prime Minister Hun Sen has asked Cambodian peacekeepers working with the United Nations to be careful as he addressed soldiers yesterday.
Mr Hun Sen was referring to the upheaval caused by President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“I asked the Ministry of Defence and the committee in charge of sending blue helmets to foreign countries to be careful, especially in regards to Lebanon,” the Prime Minister told hundreds of soldiers at the inauguration ceremony of an intelligence training facility.
He said there had been clashes between protesters and police at the US embassy in Beirut, and that other countries have held demonstrations following the Trump administration’s move.
“This is an important issue we need to follow closely and monitor,” Mr Hun Sen said. “I ask you to monitor the situation in the Middle East for the sake of our forces in Lebanon.”
In May, four Cambodian peacekeepers were killed in a night raid by a Christian anti-Balaka rebel group in Central African Republic.
The UN gave $70,000 as compensation to the families of each fallen officers. Mr Hun Sen said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had paid respects to the fallen peacekeepers.
“I told him Cambodia does not hesitate to send more troops to join the missions of the UN,” the Prime Minister said.
Phal Samorn, deputy director general of the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces, said there were currently 184 Cambodian peacekeepers in Lebanon.
“Following the Prime Minister’s speech, our troops are prepared to exert caution by increasing the exchange of information between the front and back lines,” he said.
Since 2006, Cambodia has sent more than 4,769 troops on UN peacekeeping missions as demining specialists, medics, engineers, in construction teams and as observers in eight countries: Sudan, South Sudan, Chad, the Central African Republic, Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus and Mali.
About 1000 soldiers rotate each year. This makes Cambodia the third largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping missions from Asean.