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Cambodia and Laos vow peaceful border solution

Ros Chanveasna / Khmer Times Share:
Cambodian and Lao foreign affairs ministers meet yesterday. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn yesterday met his Lao counterpart Saleumxay Kommasith to discuss how to resolve remaining issues along the border between the two countries.

The talks came four days after Prime Minister Hun Sen and Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith met on the matter and agreed on four points to resolve disputes along the border.

Mr Hun Sen and Mr Thongloun suggested a working group be set up, including representatives from both sides, which could visit disputed areas to establish the facts.

Mr Sokhonn told a joint press conference that yesterday’s meeting lasted several hours and showed how both governments were committed to ending the remaining issues along the border.

“It is only four days since the prime ministers of both countries agreed our foreign affairs ministers should work together on the issue. We have achieved the next step already,” he said.

He added that both sides will appoint a representative to the Cambodia-Laos Joint Border Committee to resolve border issues in line with the four-point plan.

Disputes remain where Stung Treng province links with Laos’ Champar Sak province, where the border is yet to be demarcated.

“We handed over the duty to the joint border committee to resolve the issues and install border posts in Stung Treng province and Champar Sak province,” Mr Sokhonn said.

The countries last week agreed to write a joint letter to the French president asking for maps of the area to help with demarcation.

“We agreed on the essence of the paperwork to be signed by both prime ministers before being sent to the French president to ask for maps for the joint committee,” Mr Kommasith said.   

Last month, Mr Hun Sen went to Vientiane to talk with his Lao counterpart about troops being in Cambodian territory.

About 30 Lao soldiers had crossed the border into Cambodia in Stung Treng’s O’Tangav and O’Alay areas, so Mr Hun Sen ordered Cambodian troops to the sites.

After one day, Laos agreed to withdraw its troops from the disputed border area. A few days later, Mr Hun Sen visited troops in Stung Treng province, where he announced the creation of a new brigade following tensions between the countries.

At present, 121 of 145 border posts have been installed along the 533-kilometre border, meaning that 83 percent of the demarcation has been completed.

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