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Hun Sen To Send Soldiers To Africa

Prime Minister Hun Sen said Tuesday Cambodia will send a group of soldiers to Africa for UN peacekeeping missions.

“We will send our soldiers to Chad and central Africa, following a request by the UN secretary-general and the Francophone secretary-general,” Hun Sen said during a graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh.

Cambodia has sent soldiers to help with demining operations in Sudan on three annual rotations since 2006. But Hun Sen said they could do more.

“I just decided last week to send the troops to Chad and central Africa,” Hun Sen said, without specifying dates or numbers of soldiers to be sent. “I have decided to send our troops to two more nations, after our soldiers were in Sudan.”

The announcement follows a report last week by the Economist Intelligence Unit warning that Cambodia’s political stability was at risk from the worsening global economic crisis. The Intelligence Unit warned that Cambodia was more likely to face political instability than Chad, as well as two other African countries.

“If Cambodia has similar political stability to Chad and is worse than Iraq and Afghanistan, the United Nations would not request Cambodia to send our troops to Chad and central Africa,” Hun Sen said. “Why is Cambodia prepared to send troops to Chad, why do the United Nations and Francophones need Cambodia’s help, if Cambodia is weaker than Iraq and Afghanistan?”