Cambodia is to send nearly 100 blue helmet peacekeepers from an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) unit on a UN peacekeeping mission to the Central African Republic (CAR) in the third quarter of this year.
Sem Sovanny – director-general of the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces, Mines and Explosive Remnants of War Clearance (NPMEC-ERW) – said four UN officials had assessed the capabilities and professional skills of the 98 troops from the EOD unit and checked equipment.
The UN officials had made a report to the headquarters of the intergovernmental body in New York in the US in preparation for sending the unit on the peacekeeping mission, he added.
Sovanny made the remarks on June 8 while inspecting preparations at the Training Centre for Multinational Peacekeeping Forces in Kampong Speu province for a virtual meeting with the UN evaluation team in New York.
Cambodian UN peacekeepers first carried out a mission in Bria, capital of the conflict-torn Haute-Kotto prefecture of CAR, in 2015, he added.
While Cambodia has sent more than 200 blue helmets to CAR on eight occasions, the UN this time requested an additional 15 troops for an expanded mission.
The Cambodian peacekeepers in Bria will carry out construction, undertake demining, destroy unexploded ordnance (UXO) and build wells, as well as protect civilians and provide them with humanitarian assistance.
The Kingdom has from 2006 to 2022 sent over 8,000 peacekeeping troops, including more than 500 women, on 11 missions to nine countries, according to the NPMEC-ERW.
Cambodia this year has nearly 800 blue helmet troops carrying out peacekeeping missions in South Sudan, Lebanon, CAR and Mali.
Thong Mengdavid, a research fellow at the Asian Vision Institute’s Mekong Centre for Strategic Studies, said the sending of Cambodian peacekeepers under the UN umbrella was an obligation for the Kingdom, as well as part of foreign policy in promoting global peace and protecting human life.
“Cambodia is promoting its role as a global peacekeeper because the Kingdom understands the value of peace as it went through a genocidal regime and was devastated by war.
“Cambodia continues to support global activities that focus on building peace and development as part of its peaceful diplomacy,” Mengdavid said.
Prime Minister Hun Sen told international observers at the recent commune council elections that while the UN had once sent peacekeepers to Cambodia, the Kingdom now dispatches blue helmets to carry out missions in other countries.