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Foreign Minister Touts Achievements at UN

Foreign Minister of Cambodia Hor Namhong at United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters.
Foreign Minister of Cambodia Hor Namhong at United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters.

Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong addressed the UN General Assembly Tuesday, saying the global financial crisis had not stopped Cambodia from reaching some of its development goals.

Cambodia's “Millennium Development Goals” included targets for child mortality, HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases, he said. “According to the recent study made by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the UN Millennium Campaigns, Cambodia was listed among 20 countries making the most absolute progress on MDGs.”

The UN development goals aim at halving the world's poverty rate, promoting education and health and protecting the environment, all by 2015.

The UN in Cambodia says child mortality has dropped from 95 per 1,000 live births in 2000 to 60 in 2005, the latest figure available. But the rate is still high compared to regional countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Hor Namhong said that while a lack of attention on agriculture, coupled with rising fuel costs, threatened food security in some parts of the world, Cambodia had managed well.

“Food production is the top agenda of our government policy, and agriculture and irrigation are being aggressively considered as a springboard for broader economic development with the ambition to turn Cambodia into a more important rice-exporting country,” he told the Assembly.

In his 13-minute speech, Hor Namhong pushed for developed countries to pay more attention to climate change and environmental issues.

“Cambodia urges developed countries to honor their commitment to provide financial and technological aid to developing nations in the fight against climate change, and take the lead to cut their respective carbon dioxide emission,” he said.

Hor Namhong called for peaceful resolution to issues on the Korean peninsula and between Israel and Palestine. He also lent Cambodian support to a UN resolution to end the embargo of Cuba.