Laos breaks promise to withdraw forces from border
One day after Laos agreed to withdraw forces from disputed land on the border, soldiers with timber, bricks and construction equipment crossed into the area again.
On Wednesday, both sides agreed to withdraw troops from Deum Lvea in Stung Treng province’s O’Svay commune after a row broke out over the construction of a well.
Cambodia claims the well, near the Trapeang Kriel-Nong Nok Khian international border checkpoint, is being built on its territory.
Stung Treng provincial hall spokesman Men Kong said he was disappointed that Lao soldiers broke the agreement yesterday.
“About 30 Lao security officers brought timber, bricks and other equipment into Cambodia,” he said. “We do not know what they want to construct now.”
Laos earlier tried to build a military outpost on the disputed land, while Cambodia followed by doing the same.
As a result of Wednesday’s meeting, Laos reopened a secondary checkpoint in O’Svay zone, which it had temporarily closed. Both also said they would withdraw troops and suspend construction activities. “We are surprised that Laos has done this,” Mr. Kong said.
Cambodia yesterday asked Laos to withdraw its forces and respect the agreement of the joint border commission, while the Stung Treng provincial authority sent a working group to discuss the problem, he added.
At a meeting following those requests, Laos said it would suspend construction and withdraw the troops again, but reaffirmed the land is part of its territory.
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