The Senate unanimously approved a draft law on the ratification of the State-Boundary Treaty between Cambodia and Laos, signalling acceptance of the results of a joint inspection of 86 per cent of the border. Negotiations around the demarcations have been ongoing for more than 28 years.

All 58 senators voted to approve the draft without amendment, during the 10th plenary session of the 4th Legislature on April 10. The session was chaired by Senate president Say Chhum.

A press release by the Senate secretariat explained that the law aims to build a border of peace, stability, cooperation and long-term development based on independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and mutual respect.

“The border demarcation treaty between the two countries was approved and signed by the heads of government of Cambodia and Laos on February 13 in Vientiane, Laos,” it added.

The Senate described the treaty as significant, as it is the first such treaty to be signed between the two since they gained independence from France. It will also serve as the foundation document for demarcating the remaining 14 per cent of their shared borders.

Koy Pisey, deputy head of the National Authority for Border Affairs, said the treaty was the result of the hard work of the border affairs officials of both nations.

“We have been negotiating since 1995, with at least 188 major meetings since then,” she added.

“This is the first time Cambodia has signed an international legal treaty with Laos, so it is historically significant. I am proud of what we have achieved, and believe the government is proud of us. We will continue to work tirelessly to resolve the remaining border issues,” she said.

Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, also noted the importance of the treaty.

“The two nations have not had clearly marked borders since the French colonial period,” he said.

“This is important for the peoples of both countries, as once they are clearly defined, development can be planned without fears of future disputes,” he added.

The draft law was approved by the National Assembly on March 30, with 105 unanimous votes.