Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Amid $1.9M gift, CMAC boss tempers US aid comments



Amid $1.9M gift, CMAC boss tempers US aid comments

US President Barack Obama greets Laotian deminers during a visit last month in which he announced $90 million in funding for mine clearance. AFP
US President Barack Obama greets Laotian deminers during a visit last month in which he announced $90 million in funding for mine clearance. AFP

Amid $1.9M gift, CMAC boss tempers US aid comments

Seemingly backing away from previous criticism, Heng Ratana, director-general of the Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC), expressed gratitude to the US on Friday for pledging another $1.9 million to the organisation, while still implying that Cambodia is not treated as well as its neighbouring countries.

Ratana posted a Facebook status saying he signed an agreement on Friday with US authorities who pledged $1.9 million over 12 months to “clear over 12 square kilometers of contamination areas in at least 7 provinces”.

Last month, Ratana had taken to Facebook to decry US President Barack Obama’s pledge of $90 million in demining aid to Laos as “unfair”.

Over the weekend, however, Ratana took a more conciliatory tone, thanking the US for its past and present contributions.

“It is important to recall that the United States has provided approx US$40 million to CMAC since 1995,” Ratana wrote. “We highly appreciate the Government and people of the United States,” he added.

Ratana ended his post, however, by once again implying Cambodia was being treated unfairly by the United States. “We firmly hope the moral obligation to Cambodia will be provided in the same way it is to its neighbours,” he wrote, adding “moral obligations must not be discriminatory”.

David Josar, deputy spokesman at the US Embassy, offered differing figures from Ratana, saying the United States has, in fact, donated more than $100 million to various Cambodian organisations in demining aid in the past 20 years.

“The US State Department currently provides $5.5 million in annual support for humanitarian mine action activities in Cambodia,” Josar said.

In comparison, in 2011, the NGO Legacies of War estimated the US had only donated $51 million to Laos. Laos also has the dubious honour of being the most heavily bombed country per capita in history.

Meanwhile, also on Friday, a Battambang villager lost a leg in Samlot district after stepping on a landmine.“He went to his rice farm in order to cut the bush around the farm to prevent wild pigs from entering the farm and stepped on a landmine,” said Kim Ly, Ta Tork commune chief.

She added that in August, another villager in her commune also lost a leg from the same kind of land mine.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Quarantine site in north Phnom Penh inaugurated

    A four-building quarantine centre in Phnom Penh’s Prek Pnov district was formally inaugurated on January 6. The centre can house up to 500 people, according to Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng. At the inauguration ceremony, Sreng said the municipal hall had cooperated with the Ministry

  • More than 5K workers rush from Thailand amid outbreak

    Following the recent outbreak of Covid-19 in Thailand’s Samut Sakhon province, Cambodian migrants working in Thailand were gripped by worry over the situation and many rushed to return to their homeland. Over the past 10 days, more than 5,000 migrant workers have returned from Thailand through

  • ‘Beware of WhatsApp fraudsters’

    The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications warned members of the public who use WhatsApp to vigilantly guard against a new trick employed by hackers that involves the use of six-digit codes sent to potential victims via the popular messaging app. The ministry said hackers could