Lieutenant General Hun Manet, the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and the commander of the army’s infantry, said only a wise and assertive leader could bring peace and stability to a post-war country.

Speaking during an inauguration of the Ang Thom Buddha statue at the Nikrothearama pagoda in Kampong Cham province on Sunday, Manet also called for national solidarity to maintain peace and sustainable development.

“We’ve attained the country’s peace through the Win-Win Policy of Samdech Techo [Hun Sen] and the people’s participation across the country,” he said, addressing Prime Minister Hun Sen by his honorific.

“Sometimes, people take the most valuable thing like peace for granted. Peace is precious and belongs to mankind, but sometimes its value is not appreciated until it’s gone,” he said.

Manet noted that over the past years, the majority of Cambodians seemed to have had a clearer understanding of peace and had started to place a high value on happiness brought by it.

“We are grateful for the peace. We thank those who have helped restore peace. Please join hands in maintaining it,” he said.

He said the Kingdom had enjoyed continuous development while the people have had better living standards thanks to peace. And while acknowledging that challenges remain, he said the government was committed to overcoming them and furthering development of the country.

“This is the goal of the government led by Samdech Techo [Hun Sen]. He wants people to live in happiness and to receive good public services in all sectors.”

Kin Phea, the director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, echoed Manet’s remarks.

He said without a wise and assertive leader, a country is likely to face political instability.

“We have enjoyed stability and full peace since 1998. Without the right leadership, we could not have attained peace and political stability and there would have been no development.

“Peace, stability, and development rely on the leader’s wisdom. Having said that, the government must carry out more reforms at the local level,” he said.