Cambodia commemorates Paris Peace Accord anniversary

PHNOM PENH (Xinhua) — Approximately 300 monks, opposition supporters, and human rights activists marched through streets here on Thursday to mark the 23rd anniversary of the Paris Peace Agreement, which is the country’s national day.

“The rally is to urge the government to fully implement the agreement for the sake of peace, national unification, democracy, development, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said one of the protest leaders Venerable Soeun Hai.

The Paris Peace Accord was signed in 1991 by the UN and 18 countries — including the United States, China, Australia and Japan — who agreed to monitor the implementation of the agreement.

The agreement ended Cambodia’s protracted civil war and paved the way for the country to move from a communist state to democracy. It allowed the UN Transitional Authority to oversee free and fair national elections in the country in 1993.

Professor Pen Ngoeun, advisor to the University of Puthisastra, said Thursday that Cambodia has grown on its own for 23 years since the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement.

“We are mature enough to solve our own problems without looking for benefactors and pushers,” he said. “On this anniversary, let’s celebrate the closing of the chapter on our reliance on outsiders than on our own ability.”

He said the 1991 Paris Peace Agreement had been a starting point for Cambodia leadership to pursue lasting peace, security, development, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.