Subject: [cwj 86] Japan, EU to study joint Cambodian aid project
From: Corporate Watch in Japanese <>
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 17:32:54 -0700
Seq: 86

Japan, EU to study joint Cambodian aid project 

Staff writer 
The Japan Times: Aug. 24, 2000

Japan and the 15-nation European Union will start talks as early as
next month on drafting a unique guns-for-butter joint assistance
project for Cambodia by the end of this year, government sources
said Wednesday.

The project would try to ensure the war-torn Southeast Asian
country's internal security and promote economic development,
especially of poorer rural areas, the sources said.

Since Cambodia's deadly civil war ended in the early 1990s, Japan
has led the country's international assistance efforts.

Japan is by far Cambodia's largest single aid donor, extending
nearly 10 billion yen in official development assistance annually.

But the poor security conditions due largely to the existence of
armed groups has hampered efforts to develop the Southeast Asian
country's rural areas.

Huge numbers of firearms are believed to be in circulation in
Cambodia. Although the Phnom Penh government of Prime
Minister Hun Sen has tried to collect small firearms from armed
groups in the rural areas, it apparently has not made much
progress. Cambodia still lacks even a legal framework for
regulating the possession of firearms.

Japan dispatched a fact-finding government mission to Cambodia
in early July to explore Japan's possible assistance to help the
Phnom Penh government collect small firearms from citizens in
rural areas by providing them with job training or other aid in

Former Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi met with Hun Sen in Phnom
Penh in January, when he pledged to send the mission.

The EU, meanwhile, has stationed its own officials in Phnom Penh
since last October to study the possibility of launching similar
assistance for Cambodia.

At their regular summit in Tokyo in late July, top Japanese and EU
leaders agreed to cooperate in assisting the Phnom Penh
government's small-firearms collection efforts for the development
of rural areas. The Japan-EU summit was attended by Prime
Minister Yoshiro Mori, French President Jacques Chirac and
European Commission President Romano Prodi.

The EU is now conducting a feasibility study on a guns-for-butter
Cambodian assistance project on its own. The feasibility study is
expected to be completed at the end of this month.

The sources said that Japan and the EU will begin talks at the
expert-level as early as next month on drafting a joint assistance
project for Cambodia based on the results of the EU's feasibility

In the initial stage of the project, the EU wants to designate three
unspecified Cambodian villages as model communities for the
project, the sources said.

The sources said that the draft assistance project will be submitted
to nongovernmental organizations engaged in development
assistance activities in Cambodia, as well as to the Phnom Penh
government, for endorsement by the end of this year. If
everything goes smoothly, the Japan-EU joint project will be
launched early next year, they said.

Japan hopes the joint Japan-EU project for Cambodia will serve as
a model for preventing regional conflicts and promoting economic
development in other countries, especially in Africa.

"We hope the joint project will be implemented and show specific
results before a key United Nations-sponsored conference next
year on the control of small firearms," one senior government
official said, requesting that he not be named.

Japan will finance its portion of the joint project, using either ODA
or a special Japanese-financed fund within the U.N. for control of
small firearms in developing countries, or both, the sources said.

At their annual meeting in Miyazaki Prefecture in late July, foreign
ministers from the Group of Eight countries adopted an action
program for preventing regional conflicts through tighter controls
of small firearms and other means.

At the Miyazaki meeting, Japan pledged to boost the size of the
U.N. fund by $700,000. G-8 comprises the United States, Canada,
Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Russia.

In 1998, the World Bank launched a similar project for Cambodia
called the Cambodia Veteran Assistance Program. But the World
Bank program fell through, primarily because many Cambodians
only handed in unusable firearms for money while keeping usable

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