The Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) and the Thailand Mine Action Centre (TMAC) jointly surveyed locations along the border on Tuesday to clear mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Banteay Meanchey province and Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province, having signed an agreement specifying where to carry out their work.
CMAC director-general Heng Ratana told The Post on Tuesday that technical committees from the two countries had signed an agreement to cooperate in clearing mines and UXO along the border to contribute to both nations’ development interests.
Ratana said that in the Thai-Cambodian agreement, the Cambodian side selected key locations in Banteay Meanchey’s Poipet and Malai districts, while the Thais chose areas in Tha Kham sub-district in Sa Kaeo province’s Aranyaprathet district.
“The clearing of landmines and unexploded ordnance is taking place with respect to both countries’ territorial integrity.
“CMAC and TMAC are not using joint equipment, but because we have chosen minefields in areas so close to each other’s countries, it is beneficial that we exchange technical experience with each other in real-time,” he said.
Ratana said clearance work was being conducted by CMAC and TMAC units under directives made by the Cambodian-Thai General Border Commission created by the two governments.
Banteay Meanchey CMAC head Sam Vireak told The Post that Cambodia was ready to clear 126ha in 14 locations 300m to 500m from the border and that they were in four communes in Poipet and Malai districts.
“These areas are scattered with anti-personnel and anti-tank mines.
“Some of these areas are on villagers’ farmland and pose a real threat to local people. Once we have cleared the land, farmers will be able to expand their cultivation areas,” Vireak said.
He said Banteay Meanchey province had landmines on 35,897ha, of which 18,077ha had already been cleared.