Sunday, September 27, 2009

1,500 U.S soldiers to join military exercise in Cambodia next year

PHNOM PENH, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- About 1,500 U.S. military men are expected to join military exercise which is planned to take place in Cambodia in the middle of next year, Cambodian military official said Saturday.

Gen. Chhum Socheat, spokesman of National Defense said that more than 2,000 military men are reserved for the first-ever event in the country and they will come from more than 20 countries, of which 1,500 will be from the United States.

The military exercise which is to be supported by the United States under a program titled "Global Peace Operations Initiative or GPOI" will take place in June or July next year.

According to the plan, the military exercise will be conducted in Phnom Penh and in Phnom Sruoch district in Kompong Speu province, about 90 kilometers from the capital, the officials added.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh issued a statement saying during a four-day visit to Washington D.C. , Tea Banh, Cambodia's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense had met with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg and discussed security cooperation between the United States and Cambodia.

During the meeting, they also highlighted Cambodia's ongoing support for international peacekeeping operations and Cambodia's commitment to hosting the 2010 Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) regional capstone exercise.

GPOI is a U.S.-funded G-8 program to expand global capacity to train and equip 75,000 peacekeepers by the year 2010, the statement said.

Peace Operations Initiative was established after the 2004 G8 Sea Island Summit to address growing gaps in international peace operations. The goals of GPOI expand upon the goals of the Sea Island Action Plan. GPOI built policy based on previous peace operations capacity-building programs.

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