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Opposition blocked at border

Activists and CNRP supporters are blocked by authorities on the weekend in Kandal province
Activists and CNRP supporters are blocked by authorities on the weekend in Kandal province after trying to visit the Vietnam-Cambodia border. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Opposition blocked at border

Opposition lawmakers are set to send a joint letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen next week urging the premier to lodge a complaint to the International Court of Justice over Vietnam ignoring Cambodian diplomatic notes protesting its alleged border encroachment.

Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker Um Sam An confirmed yesterday that party members would send a letter to Hun Sen over the border issues, which have recently flared up again amid a series of clashes between Cambodian citizens and Vietnamese armed forces.

“Nearly 10 [CNRP] lawmakers will send a letter to Hun Sen on Thursday or Friday, asking him to file a complaint to the International Court of Justice, because we have already submitted diplomatic requests to the Yuon, but they’ve been ignored,” he said, using a term for Vietnamese people considered offensive by some.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Kandal provincial authorities blocked Sam An, lawmaker Real Camerin and more than 200 civilians and monks from visiting a “white area” – a disputed territorial zone between the neighbouring nations – where Vietnamese authorities were reportedly digging to set up a military post in Koh Thom district. Around 100 Kandal police officers were deployed to prohibit the field visit
Sam An claimed that Vietnamese forces had encroached on a white area, and were still continuing construction activities about 30 metres from a Cambodian police post in Sampov Puon commune’s Preksbov village, despite the Cambodian government’s appeals to
Vietnam.

Kandal provincial police chief Eav Chamroeun said yesterday that his officers prohibited CNRP lawmakers from monitoring the land strictly to maintain safety, as another clash with Vietnamese forces may have broken out.

“The construction is on their [Vietnamese] land, but there must be an agreement from us, too,” he said. However, he declined to comment on whether the land was actually considered a white area.

The senior minister in charge of border affairs, Va Kimhong, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

But Camerin said that a few members of his party managed to break the police line and witness the digging for themselves.

“Blocking people and lawmakers from visiting the land that was encroached on is seriously wrong. Entering [Vietnamese land] may spark a problem, but Yuon stood on our land. Why are they not afraid of having a problem?” he said.

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