Ambassador Brattskar concludes field visit to Thailand and Cambodia
In what constitutes his first trip as president of the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT), Ambassador Hans Brattskar visited Cambodia and Thailand to meet with key figures in demining work and push toward the complete clearance of landmines in the region by 2025.
The field visit, which took place on Dec 10-14, saw Mr Brattskar, Permanent Representative of Norway to the United Nations and President of the MBT, and his delegation visit minefields in Thailand’s Sakaeo and Cambodia’s Banteay Meanchey provinces, a Thai prosthesis centre, as well as NPA’s dog training facilities and the Peace Museum in Siem Reap, among others.
During the first leg of the trip, the delegation – which included Kjersti Rødsmoen, Ambassador of Norway to Thailand, and Hana R. Cervenka, First Secretary to the Permanent Mission of Norway in Geneva – met with officials of Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Thailand Mine Action Centre (TMAC).
In Cambodia, they had an opportunity to discuss demining initiatives with the Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC), the Cambodia Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces (NPMEC), and the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Centre (ARMAC).
In talks with Morakot Sriswasdi, Deputy Director General at the International Organisations Department of the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Pisanu Sobhon, Director of the Peace, Security and Disarmament Division, Mr Brattskar expressed the need to start clearing and releasing land along the border with Cambodia and neighbouring countries as soon as possible to achieve a mine-free region by 2025, in accordance with the Maputo declaration.
During the meeting, the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs praised Norway for its support to mine action in Thailand and expressed hope for continued Norway support until all obligations under Article 5 are fulfilled. The ministry also expressed an interest in working with Norway to engage Thailand in an individual approach to fulfil such obligations by the agreed deadline, Oct 30, 2023.
During a meeting with CMAA’s Vice President General Sem Sovanny, Mr Brattskar stressed the need for Cambodia to fulfil its Article 5 obligations and to present a detailed extension report at the Fourth Review Conference, which will take place in Oslo in November next year.
Meanwhile, CMAA informed the visitors that the Cambodian government plans to match all international demining funding with a 10% national contribution.
All in all, the trip was hailed as a success by organisers and participants, with Thai and Cambodian institutions providing detailed presentations of the current situation and how they are working toward completing the work on all areas covered by the MBT.