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Government waiting for Laos to proceed with border dispute

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Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Lao counterpart. Hun Sen’s Facebook page

Government waiting for Laos to proceed with border dispute

The government is still waiting for Vientiane’s Terms of Reference (ToR) to proceed with the delivery of a joint letter requesting that the French government supply maps and other related documents to settle a border dispute with Laos, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman, Ket Sophann said.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, he said: “We have agreed with Laos to submit documents to France and our border committee is waiting for the approval from Vientiane before we send them.”

Previously, Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Laotian counterpart, Thongloun Sisoulith, agreed that their Foreign Affairs Ministers submit a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron requesting maps to the scale of 1/50,000, rather than 1/100,000.

Both Cambodia and Laos were part of French Indochina until gaining independence in 1954. French maps have been used to help settle a border dispute with Vietnam.

Territorial disputes with Laos became a hot issue after Laotian troops allegedly trespassed into the O’Alay and O’Tangav areas in Stung Treng province’s Siem Pang district, causing a standoff between the two countries.

In September last year, both Hun Sen and Sisoulith agreed to designate the O’Tangav area as a no man’s land and increase joint patrols of Cambodian and Laotian troops there, following the August 2017 standoff.

The two countries share a 540km land border, but large tracts have not been officially demarcated, leading to squabbles.

As of now, only 121 border posts out of the required 145 have been set in place. The remaining undemarcated sites are located in Preah Vihear and Stung Treng provinces.

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