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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Lawmakers in border claim fracas

Lawmakers in border claim fracas

National Assembly president Heng Samrin yesterday slammed the opposition Sam Rainsy Party for its recent claims that Cambodia has ceded land to Vietnam by allowing the misplacement of border demarcation posts.

The rebuke came two weeks after a delegation of opposition SRP members claimed that Vietnamese border police crossed onto Cambodian land to prevent them from visiting border demarcation post 103, in Kampong Cham province’s Memot district on December 13.

The delegation also alleged that according to its maps and claims from local residents, 14 villages in Memot’s Da, Muol and Ruong communes had been ceded to Vietnam following the planting of border posts 108 and 109.

Speaking during a session at the National Assembly yesterday, Heng Samrin, who is also an honorary president of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, said the SRP had expressed their concerns about the issue in an “inappropriate manner”.

“Experts on the Border Committee of the two countries have held serious discussions before reaching an agreement for each demarcation border post,” he said.

“It was a mutual understanding and agreement of the two countries, therefore there must be no matter of an allegation about border encroachment.”

He said land along some areas of the border had a history of being passed back and forth between villagers from the two countries prior to stretches of the border being clearly demarcated this year.

“I am not taking sides since there is no clear border,” he said.

“They encroached into our territory and we encroached into their territory, therefore when the border demarcation took place there were problems.”

He also noted that Vietnamese residents living along the border had “protested to their government” following the planting of new demarcation posts, claiming that they had lost land.

SRP spokesman Yim Sovann yesterday defended the actions of the opposition party, saying that the behaviour of the Vietnamese border officials “cannot be accepted”.

“We have to protest with Vietnam because their soldiers were deployed in Cambodian territory and were surrounding and threatening Cambodian parliamentarians,” he said.

He also noted that it was the duty of the opposition party to raise questions about border issues, citing consistent “trouble and lack of transparency” surrounding the Cambodian-Vietnamese border.

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