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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Laotian military checkpoints agree to leave Cambodian soil

Laotian military checkpoints agree to leave Cambodian soil

L AOTIAN military has promised to leave Cambodian territory after recent

negotiations between provincial governors on both sides of the border, according

to a Ministry of Defense officer.

The governor of Cham Pasak, Laos,

agreed with his Stung Treng counterpart to have Laotian military checkpoints

withdraw from their base in Siem Pang district, two to four kms inside Camboida,

said the officer, who would not be named.

He said one Laotian check point

has already withdrawn.

The officer told the Post that the Lao military

had posted approximately 50 soldiers inside Cambodia since 1985. However, the

local governor had not reported this illegal entry to the central government at

the time.

"I think we had a very good relationship between the two

countries. This dispute should be negotiated, not by confrontation with any

weapons."

He also confirmed that Laotian military had been logging and

hunting Cambodian territory, paying a fee to local Cambodian authorities on the

border, as the Post reported last month.

Samphon Sichaleun, second

secretary of the Lao Embassy in Phnom Penh, insisted that there was no sign of

Laotian military in Cambodia.

However, he admitted the Lao government has

not investigated the case.

"We can't say 'yes or no' because we haven't

investigated - but I think it is impossible and it is a terrible thing if our

army illegally entered Cambodia."

"If it has happened my government will

punish them heavily."

Sichaleun, told the Post that he hadn't recieved

any official letters from either the Lao or Cambodian government confirming

Laos' military presence on Cambodian territory.

He said: "It is very

regretful that some local and international media revealed the problem, which

could create problems for the relationship between the two countries.

"We

are as brothers. We have had good a relationship and cooperation. And we are

also a small and poor country. How can (Laos) do such as thing? If we did so,

other countries would laugh," Sichaleun said.

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