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Former UNTAC Force Commander Recognizes Cambodia's Progress

PHNOM PENH: Former Force Commander of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia, Lt. Gen. John Murray Sanderson, arrived in Cambodia from Australia last week, and met with Prime Minister Hun Sen this Wednesday morning (27 April) at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh. Upon seeing Cambodia in the present day, he has expressed his pleasant surprise at seeing all the great change and development that has taken place, especially in Phnom Penh.

During the face-to-face meeting with the Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Peace Palace, Australian Lt. Gen. John Sanderson remarked on the great progress Cambodia has made, including the growth of the country’s international presence over the last 30 years.

In turn, Prime Minister Hun Sen thanked Lt. Gen. Sanderson and the Australian Government for their contribution to Cambodia's peace process. He said Australia was the first country to recognize the new Cambodian government and abandon its recognition of the prior Khmer Rouge government.

The Personal Assistant of the Prime Minister, Eang Sophalleth, told reporters after the meeting that the "Prime Minister stated that any country which recognized Cambodia before Cambodia gained its independence, is a country that also helped Cambodia gain independence. The Prime Minister further informed Lt. Gen. John Sanderson about the strategic vision leading Cambodia to full peace, along with a strategy to control the spread of Covid-19."

The Prime Minister also thanked the Government and people of Australia for assisting Cambodia with its Covid-19 response by providing vaccines.

Once the meeting concluded, Prime Minister Hun Sen and Lt. Gen. Sanderson also had lunch together.

Lt. Gen. John Murray Sanderson, born 4 November 1940, is a retired Australian Army officer and Deputy Chief of Staff. He served as Commander-in-Chief of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia from 1992 to 1993 and Commander-in-Chief of the Army from 1995 to 1998. He was also the 29th Governor of Western Australia from 2000 to 2005.

Lt. Gen. Sanderson has come to Cambodia to mark the 30th Anniversary of UNTAC, as well as the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Australia. He was also awarded with an Honorary Doctorate in Peace from the University of Cambodia on Monday (25 April), for the important role he played in peace building, stability and the development of Cambodia.

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