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Defence chiefs ink pact on borders

The Ministers of Defence from Cambodia and Laos met yesterday to sign a memorandum of understanding on border demarcation and security matters, officials said after the meeting.

“We talked about the issues along the border, and we will boost border demarcation and construction [of border posts] . . . in order to protect and enhance good economic relations with each other,” said Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh, speaking after the one-hour meeting with his counterpart, Sengnouane Xayalath.

An official in attendance, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Cambodian side had also asked that Laos use peaceful means in dealing with Cambodians committing cross-border crimes. “The two sides have pledged to strengthen bilateral cooperation preventing crimes along the border, such as human trafficking, drug trafficking, illegal logging, etc,” he said.

Neither side yesterday mentioned the construction – just a few kilometres from the Cambodian border – of the controversial Don Sahong dam, which Cambodia has lobbied against, and which experts say could threaten food security for millions of people downstream.

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