Sovereignty Issue Raised at Celebration of 30th Anniversary of Paris Peace Agreement
AKP Phnom Penh, October 23, 2021 --
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation H.E. Prak Sokhonn raised the issue surrounding the sovereignty of Cambodia, at the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Paris Peace Agreement held here this morning.
“[…] It was never stated in the Paris Agreements that Cambodia, after the transition period, that is to say once the United Nations mandate ended, would remain under international supervision. If there were commitments that would last beyond that juncture, they would be those that would bind Cambodia as a rightful member of the UN, like all other member states. Since, Cambodia became and maintained itself as a sovereign nation like other states in the international community,” he said.
Regrettably, he added, despite the solid commitments from many parties of the “Agreement Concerning the Sovereignty, Independence, Territorial Integrity and Inviolability, Neutrality and National Unity of Cambodia” not to interfere, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatsoever, in our internal affairs, Cambodia continued to witness attempts at regime change through undemocratic approach.
H.E. Prak Sokhonn recalled that at the 76th United Nations General Assembly in September, Samdech Techo Prime Minister raised that "History has told us time and again that interference and, worse, military options to impose different systems of governance are not the solutions. Far from it, they have only led to many more deaths, human suffering and misery, and social and economic strife. Cambodia is the real-life example and has experienced the worst tragedy; and regrettably, we are now witnessing the repetition of the same policies. If the recent events in Afghanistan, and many more before it, are lessons to be learnt from, there is great merit to respect the wishes of each nation and their people’s rights to self-determination. Countries, large and small, differ in their history, culture, traditions, ways of life and political organisation. They should not be hindered by the imposition of unilateral sanctions, embargoes or other coercive economic measures that violate international law and the very principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.”
According to the Report No. S/25289, adopted by the UN Security Council in 1993, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali concluded: "[…] as signatories to the Paris Agreements, the Cambodian parties have the primary responsibility for their implementation and that the future stability and well-being of Cambodia depends on the Cambodian themselves." Therefore, by the end of the UN mandate, the implementation of the Paris Agreements became the sole responsibility of Cambodia.
“In the spirit of national sovereignty, Cambodia has strengthened itself to take charge of its own destiny by overcoming adversities, obstacles, and political and economic challenges as well as clashes between ideologies and classes in order to collectively rebuild the nation. In contrast to flowery language in the Agreements and speeches, smiles and embraces, we acknowledged that it was not easy to learn to co-exist and work together after decades of confrontation and conflict. Although our differences had led to armed violence, the willpower of Samdech Techo Hun Sen towards national unity has ensured that all parties involved could manage to live and work together,” he pointed out. “For this reason, Cambodia has developed rapidly, with an average economic growth rate of 7 percent for roughly the past 20 years. Cambodia attained its status as a lower middle-income country in 2015. We have brought down the poverty rate to below 10 percent prior to the global health, economic and social crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our literacy rate has increased from 39 percent in 1991 to 88.5 percent in 2019, our number of tourists increased from 200,000 in 1995 to 6.6 million in 2019, and our exports of textiles, footwear and travel products rose from zero to over US$10 billion in 2019. In 1993, we barely had any electricity; yet by 2020, 97 percent of all villages nationwide had access to electricity. We have also built 15,000 km of concrete and asphalt roads, and 20 new bridges across the Mekong, Tonle Sap and Tonle Bassac rivers.”
In the regional and international arena, H.E. Prak Sokhonn said, Cambodia became a member of ASEAN in 1999, a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2004, and has thus far established diplomatic relations with 174 countries. Cambodia has been transformed from a country that once hosted the blue berets to a country contributing to peacekeeping missions in Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Since 2006, Cambodia has deployed over 7,826 peacekeepers under the UN umbrella to 9 countries, namely Sudan, South Sudan, Chad, Cyprus, Mali, Central African Republic, Lebanon, Yemen and Syria.
By C. Nika