A team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons arrived in Cambodia Sunday night, with officials saying they will investigate chemical weapons dropped by the United States during the Vietnam War.
Cambodian officials first appealed in October to the OPCW, which is the implementing body of the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, complaining about non-lethal CS tear gas bombs found in Svay Rieng.
The presence of the chemical bombs became a contentious point between Cambodia and the United States, with the US Embassy accusing Cambodian officials of politicising the issue amid a general deterioration in relations between the two countries.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Defence Minister Tea Banh said the US has not taken responsibility for its chemical weapons legacy, and identified Mondulkiri, Svay Rieng and Tbong Khmum as the provinces most affected.
Banh told reporters that the OPCW team went to Mondulkiri yesterday, and will begin investigating there today. “This is the successful first step for Cambodia, which used to be victimised, and some ignored us and did not think about our problems. However, this organisation seems to be interested and . . . [can] find a way to neutralise or solve the problem happening in Cambodia,” Banh said.