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Cambodian-Lao border committees to draft treaty

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Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith (left) shakes hands with Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh. Thongloun is on a two-day state visit which ends on Friday. hun sen facebook page

Cambodian-Lao border committees to draft treaty

Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Lao counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith agreed to prepare a Cambodia-Laos border treaty on Thursday as the demarcation between the two countries is now 86 per cent complete.

During their bilateral meeting, which was broadcast live on Facebook, Hun Sen said: “We also agreed to change our current border markers which are too small. It is like boundary markers between a villager and a villager and it was not suitable as border markers between countries.”

He said the two governments have tasked the national border committees to draft the treaty to be submitted for the prime ministers’ review.

Both parties also agreed to share expenses on the construction of new border markers to replace the old ones.

“As our border markers are few, we agreed to conduct a study to decide how many more markers the two countries needed. There must be a consensus because so far there have been only 121 markers for hundreds of kilometres of the border. We need more markers,” Hun sen said.

At the meeting, Thongloun hailed the 86 per cent completion of shared border demarcation as a success and testament to strong mutual cooperation. He requested the Kingdom to draw up a map that is acceptable to both sides.

For the outstanding issues, both prime ministers agreed to let the countries’ border committees and foreign affairs ministries continue their cooperation.

“I believe there will be a solution as we have the basis of good relations with each other.”

Thongloun is in the Kingdom on a two-day state visit at the invitation of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

A press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Wednesday said the visit, which wraps up on Friday, will strengthen relations, solidarity, and cooperation between the two countries.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan echoed the ministry’s statement.

“The [Lao prime minister’s] official visit to Cambodia is a testament to the good relations and cooperation between the two nations.”

Political analyst Meas Nee said the visit will help defuse tensions following a recent confrontation between the two countries’ armies at the border where border issues remain to be solved.

“The Cambodian government has announced that there will be a meeting between both sides to resolve border issues,” he said.

Last week, Minister of Foreign Affairs Prak Sokhonn led a delegation to Laos for two days to strengthen bilateral cooperation after the confrontation.

Minister of National Defence Tea Banh said the border issues between the two countries resulted from the lack of official border markers.

Some Cambodians, he said, went to farm on no man’s land, resulting in a misunderstanding and prompting the Lao soldiers to remove their crops.

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