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Cambodia, Laos to expedite border demarcation process

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Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Lao counterpart Phankham Viphavanh at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on Monday. SPM

Cambodia, Laos to expedite border demarcation process

Cambodia and Laos have agreed to boost cooperative efforts at combating drugs and transnational crimes and expedite the demarcation of the 14 per cent of the border between the two countries that has yet to be clearly drawn.

In a press release on November 30, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said the leaders of both countries agreed to further promote cooperation in the prevention and suppression of illegal activities by exchanging and sharing information between the law enforcement authorities working in the border areas.

The agreement was reached at the bilateral meeting on November 29 between Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Lao counterpart Phankham Viphavanh, who was on a two-day visit to Cambodia from November 29-30 on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations.

“The two leaders also agreed to task relevant authorities to coordinate and work closely through regular consultations, exchange of visits at all levels, consular and legal cooperation for combating illicit drugs and transnational crimes, guarding against communicable diseases and mitigating natural disasters,” the ministry said.

It said the two prime ministers agreed to expedite the finalisation of the “Action Plan for the Comprehensive and Long-lasting Strategic Partnership” between the two countries as agreed upon during the bilateral meeting between Phankham’s predecessor and Hun Sen during a prior official visit to Cambodia in September, 2019.

Cambodia and Laos have now marked approximately 86 per cent of their common land boundary with a total of 121 border posts. Both prime ministers agreed to task the Cambodia-Laos Joint Boundary Commission with expediting the negotiations on the draft of the treaty on the delimitation of state boundaries between the two countries.

The commission will further discuss the placement of complementary boundary posts in the 86 per cent of the border that has been fixed as well as carrying out work on producing a border map illustrating the finalised border for attachment to the above-mentioned treaty.

Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, told The Post on December 1 that the border between the two countries is often a transit point for drug smuggling and that joint measures would be required to put a stop to it because drugs were a bad influence on both countries.

He said the two nations should establish a joint mechanism to address border security issues such as drugs, human trafficking and insecurity along the borders.

“Moving forward, I think cooperation between [Cambodia and Laos] will deepen in the areas of defence and security because of the common challenges that the two countries’ leaders face,” he said.

“Once the leaders are on the same page about what is taking place, I think the laying out of these joint measures, principles and strategies is then possible going forward.”

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