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O. Damry: Address to the International Leadership Conference

Address to the UPF International Leadership Conference
Seoul, Korea, February 9, 2011


I would like to extend my sincere thanks for the opportunity to describe the struggles, efforts and experiences of my country, the Kingdom of Cambodia, to achieve political stability, national reconciliation, peace and sustainable development.

I. The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) has adhered to the principle of national solidarity to rally all Cambodians, inside and outside the country, from all walks of lives and political tendencies, under the motto “Nation-Religion-King” with the objective of building and protecting the nation and its social achievements while ensuring the country's national reconciliation, independence, integrity, sovereignty, peace, democracy, and progress. Cambodia has been attaining “peace dividends” through a high rate of economic growth and poverty reduction over the past decade and has contributed significantly to regional and global economic integration. The political stability, which has been prevailing for years, has enabled Cambodia to carry out its reform measures in all sectors in order to build institutional capacity, improve socio-economic infrastructure, and create a favorable environment to attract both domestic and foreign investments, with the aim of ensuring a high rate of economic growth and poverty reduction. In recent years, Cambodia has experienced significant developments not only political and security matters but also in economic and social aspects with continued efforts, especially in social harmonization. And environment of political stability, peace, and safety are the prerequisites for Cambodia to make use of its socio-economic potential. We pledge to ensure peace, security, stability and prosperity for our home continent, in the context of growing political and economic multi-polarity, by adhering to the following principles:

• Sovereignty and territorial integrity of every state;

• The right of every state to determine its own political, economic, and social system;

• Non-aggression and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs;

• Peaceful settlement of territorial disputes and adherence to international treaties and laws;

• Arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; and

• Rejection of every kind of extremism, prejudice, or bigotry. We support in particular the international agreement that “all States need to make special efforts to establish the necessary framework to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons,” as stated in the final document unanimously adopted in 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, as well as the United Nations Secretary-General’s five-point proposal which includes negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention.

II. Cambodia’s picture has remarkably changed during the 1998-2003 period that constituted an important historical epoch of changes not only in socioeconomic spheres but also in political aspects. Evidently, the General Elections in 1998 and the successful implementation of our “Win-Win Policy” that dismantled the political and military organizations of the Khmer Rouge have brought peace to the whole nation. In this context, the RGC formulated the 2nd Socio-Economic Development Plan SEDP II in order to guide continued efforts in socioeconomic development as well as successfully implement the "Triangle Strategy" that focused on

(1) building peace, restoring stability, and maintaining security for the nation and the people;

(2) integrating Cambodia into the region and normalizing relationships with the international community; and

(3) promoting economic and social development.

This has set the stage for a profound transformation of Cambodia from a region of uncertainty, war, internal strife, instability, and backwardness into an epicenter of sustained peace, security and social order, respect for democracy, human rights and dignity, cooperation and shared development. Another aspect of significant development from 2003 till today includes the transparent, free, and fair general elections on July 27, 2008, which was recognized as the “Miracle on the Mekong,” The successive general and other elections in Cambodia demonstrate that Cambodian people want a democratic government. It is obvious that democracy has firmly taken root at the base. Other achievements have been realized through the successful implementation of the 2nd SEDP II and the “Rectangular Strategy” for Growth, Employment, Equity, and Efficiency. As a result, Cambodia achieved steady macroeconomic stability and considerable economic progress including annual average economic growth of 8.4% in the period of 1996-2006 and 9% from 1999 to 2006.

III. These achievements could not have been possible without valuable contributions of Cambodia’s Development Partners. Particularly under the auspicious leadership and guidance of His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni and His Majesty King Father Samdech Preah Bat Norodom Sihanouk, in the past three decades the Cambodian People’s Party has achieved the following valuable goals:

• Liberating the country from the genocidal regime, preventing its return, and rebuilding the country from scratch starting with poverty rate of 100 percent;

• Negotiating and achieving a political settlement which paved the way for the development and prosperity;

• Safeguarding the Constitution, guaranteeing peace, political stability and full national unity that has enabled the economy to grow by double digits in recent years;

• Bringing the last Khmer Rouge leaders to justice through an Extraordinary Chamber within the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) that has been recognized by the United Nations as a new model for international justice; and

• Dispatching Cambodian troops on UN peace-keeping missions to a number of countries such as Sudan, Chad, Central Africa, and Lebanon.

Within a short span of less than two decades, Cambodia has demonstrated its policy a model of peace and reconciliation. A big-hearted approach based on inclusion, generosity, and bringing all on board has ensured a process where there are no losers and all are victors. We are now entering a new era in which the RGC and its institutions must take full ownership of our development processes and be accountable for our own destiny. As we move forward, the RGC will take full charge of the entire development process to ensure that our resources are directed towards the vulnerable and poor in our rural communities for the prosperity of all people. May I express my heartfelt appreciation and sincere gratitude to the Universal Peace Federation for their continued support and significant contribution to the building of peace in Cambodia.

May peace and prosperity reign on Earth with the four Blessings of Buddhism: Ayu, Vanak, Sokhak and Pulak.