Army, Ministry of Environment agree to cooperate

Environment Minister Say Sam Al earlier this week meets with Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Commander Pol Saroeun. Facebook
Environment Minister Say Sam Al earlier this week meets with Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Commander Pol Saroeun. Facebook

Environment Minster Say Sam Al and Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Commander Pol Saroeun announced three new points of cooperation following a meeting earlier this week, Saroeun announced on his official Facebook page.

The first point involved the two bodies forming a joint working group along with four other ministries, though the new group’s duties were not specified.

Sam Al declined to comment and Saroeun referred questions to Ministry of Defence spokesman Chum Socheat, who didn’t respond to a request for comment yesterday.

The second point stipulated that any military unit that temporarily uses land under the Environment Ministry’s control must relinquish it when they are done.

The purpose of the mandate was not explained, but last year civil society organisations asked Sam Al to intervene in alleged cases of land grabbing by the military in protected areas.

Another point reached during Monday’s meeting was that all environmental officials must work with military officials when inspecting areas like national parks.

In late January, three forest patrollers were fatally shot in Mondulkiri’s Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, allegedly by soldiers and border police officers.