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Cambodia, Laos to set up border committee

Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn (right) and his Lao counterpart Saleumxay Kommasith sign a joint letter to French President Emmanuel Macron seeking experts and maps to help in demarcating their shared border yesterday.
Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn (right) and his Lao counterpart Saleumxay Kommasith sign agreed minutes to French President Emmanuel Macron seeking experts and maps to help in demarcating their shared border yesterday. Pha Lina

Cambodia, Laos to set up border committee

Cambodia and Laos have agreed to create a joint committee to solve a long-running border dispute between the two countries, officials announced yesterday.

Cambodian Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn and his Laotian counterpart Saleumxay Kommasith made the announcement at a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after two days of meetings.

According to Saleumxay, the two agreed to let the joint committee work onsite at the disputed area in Stung Treng province.

He said officials had also finished writing a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron requesting he send experts and more detailed maps of the area. Both Cambodia and Laos were colonised by France before gaining independence in the 1950s, and many border areas remain unmarked.

Tensions over the border have been simmering for more than a year, but the dispute flared last month after about 30 Laotian soldiers crossed the Sekong River and stationed themselves a few kilometres from the Trapaing Kriel International Checkpoint in Stung Treng province.

The force withdrew after Hun Sen ordered more troops to the area and flew to Vientiane to meet with Laotian Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith.

Sokhonn said yesterday that the prime ministers had tasked him and Saleumxay with resolving the dispute “peacefully”.

He said the two foreign ministers agreed to let the Cambodian experts in the committee study the issue on the Laos side of the border in Champasak province, and the Laotian experts study the issue in O’tangav on the Cambodian side of the border.

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