Cambodia National Rescue Party leader Sam Rainsy yesterday backed an agreement to enlist France’s help to demarcate the Kingdom’s boundary with Vietnam, while making an unorthodox request for jailed opposition lawmakers to be released to help in the efforts.
Posting on Facebook, the CNRP president said he welcomed a deal struck between Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Vietnamese counterpart to call on French mapping experts to help convert colonial maps to more a detailed and practical modern format.
“Those additional maps produced by France, a neutral country, would be more credible and more reliable than those maps recently produced by Vietnam, which has conflicting interests with Cambodia concerning border delineation,” Rainsy wrote.
Cambodia’s border with Vietnam remains politically sensitive, with the opposition at times alleging the government had lost territory by using Vietnamese maps for demarcation, rather than following the constitutionally recognised colonial charts.
In the past year, Sam Rainsy Party Senator Hong Sok Hour and CNRP lawmaker Um Sam An have been jailed over Facebook posts related to the issue.
Building on the spirit of cooperation in light of the premier’s recent moves, Rainsy called for the pair’s release, saying they should instead be engaged to help “defend Cambodia’s territorial integrity”.
Responding yesterday, ruling party spokesman Sok Eysan said both lawmakers were in prison for a reason and would not be released.