Selected Welcoming Statement Samdech Techo Hun Sen, to MS Westerdam Tourists at the Seaport of Preah Sihanouk [Unofficial Transltion]


No Cambodian Infected by CoViD-19

Today I am so glad to welcome you who have been stranded on this cruise ship for days. Though Cambodia is poor, Cambodia is sparing no efforts to resolve, together with international community, the issue (of CoViD-19 infection) faced by the region and the world. Maybe I should inform our compatriots about my decision to allow docking of the cruise ship stranded for days at sea and to enable passenger to continue their journeys back home. As I have said earlier, the real problem is not the CoViD-19 or novel coronavirus as we called it before but fear since when […] there was one Chinese infected, got cured and went back already to China.

Treatments Needed for Fear and Discrimination

Days ago, on 10 February, I made a statement that the most dangerous sickness in the region and the world is fear and discrimination. Now more than ever, we have seen the truth about discrimination and there’s demands of effective medicines through the role played by World Health Organization (WHO). May I share with the Cambodian people a fact that if we were to turn them away, where would the more than 2,000 people on board go? […]

Even with CoViD-19, Cambodia Would Still Receive Patients for Treatments

Some people or country may ask whether Cambodia would allow docking if people on the cruise ship were infected? I can assure clearly that I would let them in as soon as we could. The reason would be would we leave the infected to die on board the ship? This should bring everyone to see world responsibility, or those as responsible members of the international community […]

No Time for Fear and Discrimination but Solidarity

Let me inform the Cambodian people that I may be here for a short time but let me send a message to our people in the whole country, the international community that this is no time for fear and discrimination but for solidarity to resolve challenging issue that has been threatening not only one but many countries already.

Cambodia Observes Human Rights Respect

That I am here, I also wanted to affirm to the Cambodian people that should I get infected because of welcoming (stranded) citizens from 41 nations today, it would be a sacrifice that I could make for the sake of humanity. What human rights are we talking about if right to life is not observed?

Cambodia is mainly taking responsibility on respect of human rights. Primarily, we must render respect to life of more than 2,000 people from 41 nations on board the ship. Cambodia is performing actions relating to human rights respect and it is right to life, to no discrimination, and to return to native country safely. I think our people should understand and take pride (of this action). I thank the Cambodian people for their encouragements and support to my decision to allow the stranded ship to dock in Cambodia.

From Cambodia, the people from 41 nations will be returning to their countries to reunite with families without fear […] a woman burst into tear because of her joy. Would we be able to leave them castaway at sea? We must take responsibility as human beings […]

Approved US Embassy’s Request for Westerdam’s Port of Call

I thank the US Embassy for making contact with relevant Cambodian institutions, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and another quick channel, HE Sun Chanthol, Senior Minister and Minister of Public Works and Transportation, who also managed the port. I approved the ship to dock before 10am on 11 February as Senior Minister Sun Chanthol called me to report about the US Embassy’s request and information about denials be previous ports and the ship itself almost ran out of food stock.

Once he finished, I said “welcome” and asked him to prepare for the ship’s call and docking as soon as we could. My concern was for people who might be sick. In that case we might have to expedite docking to get them to medical attention and treatment. We must not let them die on the ship. It is our responsibility, at least morale and humanitarianism.

Passengers Can Visit Preah Sihanouk or Continue to Visit Siem Reap

I thank the Director General of WHO for his statement supporting Cambodia and he wished to talk to me on phone. I will meet him when this rescue operation ends. We have more works to do. Today only over one hundred passengers disembark the ship and more will do later. Today, I offer a chance for passengers on board the ship to visit the Preah Sihanouk province and if they wish they could continue their journey to visit Siem Reap province, we will facilitate their journeys, for instance four airplanes of Cambodia Airways are ready to fly them there.

Cambodian People Should Not Discriminate Against and Fear Westerdam Passengers

I am asking Senior Minister Sun Chanthol and governor Kuoch Chamroeun to make sure they have chance to enjoy bathing and visiting recreation sites as we’re proposed by the US envoys […] hotels and restaurants in Preah Sihanouk must not discriminate against and fear them. Should there be infection, I would be the first to get infected. I have strong hope that the Cambodian people are taking responsibility as a contributor to uplifting right to life, freedom of movement, and free from discrimination […]

Cambodia Has Not Much Resource but Strong Big Heart

I am asking our people to understand clearly moral and humanitarian responsibility that we must be part of. We may not have much property/resource as other countries but we have strong big heart to save stranded passengers on board castaway ship. How disheartens would we be if we were them that port of call was denied from one to another […]

I support the declaration of the Director General of WHO that this is the time for solidarity to resolve challenging issue. Cambodia will continue to take part with international community to resolve every issues that Cambodia can. What we have done on this matter has not outstretched Cambodia’s capacity. Cambodia can do it. Welcome (Westerdam) passengers to visit Preah Sihanouk city.

Test Results – Nobody Infected; Please Call the Port Again in the Future

We had taken a swift measure yesterday delivering suspicious medical sample by helicopter to the Institute of Pasteur in Phnom Penh. Twenty passengers with suspicious symptoms were quarantined. None later found to be infected. Please do not fear of spreading infection. May the Cambodian people maintain dignity and hospitality to our guests who are in our country after their fear at sea. If, after their fear at sea, we make them fear on land, I think we do not have pride as the Cambodian nation that is exercising moral and humanitarian responsibilities […] I hope the ship will call on our port again in the future. We will welcome them.

Safe Stay in Cambodia

I thank WHO and concerned embassies for having confidence in Cambodia to let the ship in and dock at our port. Cambodia is taking every responsibility for passengers’ safety while staying in Cambodia. Departures may have been rescheduled because of rearrangements of flight booking. They therefore may have to stay five, six or seven days. I can affirm however that Cambodia would charge them no service fee even if they have to stay one month. We demand no money. All we want is sympathy to support the ship to resolve issue that stranded passengers are returning to their countries safely. I wish you all successes and joys during your stay in the Kingdom of Cambodia. Thank you very much./.