Address of the German Ambassador
Address of the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany Joachim Baron von Marschall on the occasion of the signing of the Agreements on Technical and Financial Cooperation between the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Royal Government of Cambodia on 23 July 2014
Your Excellency Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon
Your Excellency Minister Chhieng Yanara
Distinguished members of the Royal Government of Cambodia
Ladies and gentlemen
A few minutes ago we signed the Agreements between the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Royal Government of Cambodia on Technical and Financial Cooperation. With our signatures we have formally concluded the inter-governmental negotiations which took place in December 2013. Germany has hereby formally underscored its commitment to continue to cooperate with Cambodia in the areas of health, land reform, rural development and good governance to the value of USD 64 million for the years 2013 and 2014. The total assistance which Germany has provided to Cambodia from the beginning of the cooperation in 1993 to date amounts to roughly half a billion USD. This figure includes not only bilateral aid but also German contributions to international organizations working in Cambodia, and contributions coming from Germany-based non-governmental organizations.
Germany, like many countries which work with the developing world, offers assistance out of a sense of solidarity with a country in need. In the case of Cambodia, this need has arisen out of the suffering inflicted on the country by both international and civil wars. The consequences of these conflicts can still be seen and felt in Cambodia today. Germany offers assistance on the understanding that it will be carefully invested by the Cambodian Government in those areas which will maximize progress towards a modern Cambodia: a Cambodia where all Cambodians can live a dignified life in peace: a life which provides Cambodians with adequate opportunities to develop and flourish as individuals.
I am approaching the end of my first year in Cambodia. This year has been one of difficult deliberations between the government and the opposition. I am happy that, on the eve of today’s signing ceremony, the two parties finally reached an agreement and there is now the prospect of cooperation between the parties in the National Assembly and the Senate. My government regrets deeply that in the process leading up to yesterday’s agreement lives were lost and many people were seriously injured. Today I would like to express my fervent hope that this human suffering has not been in vain, leading to a truly democratic parliamentary process in which the opposition will be able to play a substantial role as a constructive debating partner of the government, helping to make progress on the many fundamental issues which need to be addressed in the coming years. The degree of fairness and openness shown by both sides in the parliamentary process will be an important indicator of this country’s ability to reform itself.
In fact, the serious determination of Cambodian decision makers to bring about reform is a prerequisite for Germany’s assistance. The German government is accountable to its taxpayers for the money it spends on development cooperation. Our Parliament and numerous German public interest groups are looking more and more closely at what is happening in this country. They ask us questions. They want to see progress. They want to make sure we are dealing with partners who are professional and dedicated. Our partners’ willingness to deliver their contributions, to play their part is an important indicator of this professionalism and dedication. One area which I would like to stress in particular is the area of land registration and land reform. Satisfactory results in this important area can only be reached with efficient cooperation between Cambodian Ministries as well as cooperation in the technical working group.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Much has been accomplished in the course of almost twenty years of German-Cambodian cooperation. Time and again I meet people who have known Cambodia since the 1990s and they tell me that I would not be able to recognize Cambodia today, had I been here 20 years ago. In fact it is my belief that there is a great potential for further development which so far is untapped. We donors try to do our share that this potential can open up. Germany will stand together with all those who embrace the spirit of renewal, all those who are dedicated and professional, all those who put the common good above their own personal interests and work together for Cambodia’s future.
We look forward to a continued good cooperation with the Royal Government of Cambodia.