On January 2, Cambodia dispatched a new batch of peacekeepers to Lebanon as the nation marks its decade-long involvement in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping, Khmer Times reported.
According to Gen. Sem Sovanny, director-general of the Cambodian National Center for Peacekeeping Forces, Mines, and ERW Clearance, the sixth batch of 184 peacekeepers being deployed to Lebanon would replace the fifth batch, whose one-year mission had concluded.
“It marks the tenth year that Cambodia has sent peacekeepers to war-torn countries,” he said during a sending-off ceremony at the Phnom Penh International Airport.
Multirole Engineering Unit 936, the Cambodian military engineering group to be deployed in Lebanon, is a demining unit that can remove landmines manually and with mechanical instruments. Lieutenant General Phal Samorn, Gen. Sem Sovanny’s deputy, said that the group would also bring with it extra military equipment, spare parts, and medicine that will allow it to construct basic infrastructure and provide treatment to civilians where needed.
“It’s really a significant achievement that has been accomplished by our brave troops in the international arena,” Samorn added.
According to Cambodian government estimates, since 2006, Cambodia has dispatched 3,372 troops, 108 of whom were female, to join UN peacekeeping operations in Chad, the Central African Republic, Cyprus, Lebanon, Mali, Sudan, South Sudan, and Syria. The country currently has a total of 869 personnel deployed globally, with 853 troops and 16 military experts, according to UN contributor statistics.
Like many other contributing states, Cambodia’s involvement in peacekeeping is shaped by various factors, including the pursuit of regional and international recognition. While Phnom Penh is fairly new to peacekeeping, it is also a country where the United Nations previously had a peacekeeping mission – the controversial United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) – in the early 1990s to help end decades of civil war following the Paris Peace Accords.