CAMBODIA and Vietnam have agreed to hold talks on a wide range of border and
immigration issues - the most inflammatory problems dividing the
Among the items on the agenda will be the plight of Khmer
refugees in Vietnam, Cambodia's allegedly anti-Vietnamese immigration law, and
long-standing sea and land border disputes.
Joint committees are to be
set up to try to resolve the problems, following Cambodian First Prime Minister
Norodom Ranariddh's Jan 15-17 visit to Hanoi.
A joint communiqué issued
at the end of his visit said the two countries would settle their differences
through peaceful negotiation.
Both sides had agreed to find an "early
solution" to the question of Cambodian refugees in Vietnam.
mention was made of the almost 4000 "Vietnamese nationals" living in boats on
the Basaac River at Chrey Thom, after fleeing Cambodia because of Khmer Rouge
Cambodia's immigration law passed in August, previously
criticized by Vietnam as being anti-Vietnamese, was apparently the subject of
considerable discussion during Prince Ranariddh's visit.
said that Prince Ranariddh and his officials had "explained" the immigration law
and promised that it would not lead to mass expulsions of Vietnamese from
The two countries agreed a joint working group would meet in
February to "discuss and settle the issue of Vietnamese nationals in Cambodia on
the basis of respect for Cambodian national legislation and international law
Another working group would be set up to settle boundary
disputes between the two countries, which have included allegations about the
moving of border markers in recent years.
Both pledged not to change the
current border markers, and to prevent any further settlement of their people
inside each other's borders and to cooperate in maintaining border
Vietnam Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet also accepted an invitation
from Prince Ranariddh to visit Cambodia at a time yet to be decided.