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Sar Kheng lauds Lao anti-drug cooperation in border areas

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Interior minister Sar Kheng inspects a water festival racing boat at Chhep district in Preah Vihear province on May 17. SAR KHENG VIA FACEBOOK

Sar Kheng lauds Lao anti-drug cooperation in border areas

Minister of Interior Sar Kheng praised Cambodia-Laos cooperation in combating drug trafficking and other cross-border crimes and committed to continuing this collaboration, although some small issues remain.

Sar Kheng made the statement while presiding over the launch of buildings used for art purposes and a platform used for organising boat races in Kampong Sralao I commune’s Kampong Sralao village of Preah Vihear province’s Chheb district on May 17.

He said the Cambodian and Lao governments are committed to the partnership and mindful of solving any remaining problems in a peaceful and cooperative manner.

“I strongly believe that the cooperation between the two countries will continue towards our shared goal of a border of friendship, peace and development. Both sides will continue to solve the remaining problems based on the principles of both governments,” he said.

Sar Kheng also thanked Lao authorities – especially in Champasak province – for their cooperation in combating crime. He said both countries had worked well together in reducing drug trafficking, especially synthetic drugs, which were transported across the borders between the two countries.

“We agree that if we had not cooperated on this issue, synthetic drugs would have been a major threat to both Laos and Cambodia. That’s why we are willing to continue our cooperation to combat trafficking, especially synthetic drugs which pose a high risk to users,” he said.

The interior minister also thanked the armed forces in the provinces bordering Laos – Preah Vihear, Stung Treng and Ratanakkiri – for successfully fulfilling their duties and ensuring the border was peaceful, although he conceded there were still “some small issues”. Their work meant the people of those provinces had security and could make their livings without fear.

Preah Vihear provincial governor Prak Sovann said that his province and Laos’ Champasak held regular annual meetings with each other to discuss security and order, as well as socio-economic issues. The meetings were also held at district levels.

He said cultural and sporting activities – such as boat racing – have been held to promote friendship and cooperation since 2014, although they were halted during the Covid-19 pandemic. Preah Vihear and Champasak province will hold their ninth cooperation meeting soon, he added.

Cambodia and Laos have completed 86 per cent of their border demarcation. Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn in April encouraged the Cambodian-Lao Joint Border Committee (JBC) to accelerate discussions and settle the remaining 14 per cent of undemarcated borders.

The foreign affairs minister also suggested that the JBC discuss a draft border treaty for the borderline that has already been agreed, and encouraged more comprehensive cooperation in all sectors including trade, investment, education, tourism, and cultural connections between the peoples of the two countries.

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