PMs ‘com­mit­ted’ to set­tling bor­der row

The Phnom Penh Post - - FRONT PAGE - Mech Dara

PRIME Min­is­ter Hun Sen and his Lao coun­ter­part Thon­gloun Sisoulith have called on the French govern­ment to sup­ply maps and other re­lated doc­u­ments to set­tle a bor­der dis­pute, as they ex­pressed their com­mit- ment to end­ing the spat. The two lead­ers were speak­ing at a press con­fer­ence in the Lao cap­i­tal, Vientiane, where Hun Sen is lead­ing a high-level govern­ment del­e­ga­tion on a two­day of­fi­cial visit on Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day to the Lao Peo­ple’s Demo­cratic Repub­lic.

Aside from the re­quest to Paris, the two sides have agreed to three prin­ci­ples to help ease ten­sions in the O’Tan­gav area on the bor­der in Stung Treng prov­ince, Hun Sen said.

Hun Sen said: “Re­gard­ing the bor­der is­sue, it is as Prime Min­is­ter Thon­gloun has said. The O’Tan­gav area is con­sid­ered as an un­re­solved area linked to three con­di­tions.

“First, no armed forces will be present. Sec­ond, no one [peo­ple from Laos or Cam­bo­dia] can set up any ex­ploita­tion or pro­fes­sional ac­tiv­ity in the un­re­solved area.

“The two prime min­is­ters have agreed to en­trust our for­eign min­is­ters to carry out the tech­ni­cal draft­ing pro­ce­dure to send the [re­quest for maps] to the French.”

The prime min­is­ter said

that he and Thon­gloun had jointly sub­mit­ted a let­ter to the French pres­i­dent re­quest­ing maps to the scale of 1/50,000, rather than 1/100,000.

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

Other doc­u­ments were re­quested from France to help re­solve the bor­der is­sue in­volv­ing the re­main­ing un­de­mar­cated 16 per cent of the 540km Cam­bo­dia-Laos bor­der.

“We call on the French pres­i­dent and the French govern­ment to send the doc­u­ments to aid the res­o­lu­tion of re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries re­gard­ing the bor­der is­sue. Prime Min­is­ter Thon­gloun and I have agreed that we should end the bor­der is­sue as soon as pos­si­ble,” Hun Sen said

The Cam­bo­dia and Lao gov­ern­ments also signed an ed­u­ca­tional agree­ment on the mu­tual pro­vi­sion of schol­ar­ships from 2019-2024.

A fur­ther mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing (MoU) was signed on the pur­chase of elec­tric­ity from Lao for Stung Treng’s electr ic­ity sta­tion, while an­other on cul­tural and arts co­op­er­a­tion for 20192021was inked al­low­ing Cam­bo­dia to bor­row Lao ele­phants for per­for­mances at Ph­nom Penh Sa­fari.

“The peo­ple who live a long the bor­der should be granted hap­pi­ness. There has been a sign­ing cer­e­mony [re­gard­ing] t he pur­chase of Lao elec­tricit y to sup­ply to Ca mbo­dia, and it could be an im­por­tant pa r t of t he co­op­erat ion i n t he elec t r icit y t rade sec­tor f r om L a o s t o s uppl y t o Cam­bo­dia.

“As wel l as elect r icit y, we have a lso ag reed to l i n k a br idge ac ross t he [ Sekong river, which forms part of the bor­der be­tween the two coun­tries] to con­nect Preah Vi­hear and Cham­pasak prov­inces, which will give both peo­ples the op­por­tu­nity to con­nect with each other,” Hun Sen said.

The Cam­bo­dia -Laos bor­der is­sue has been rag ing since Au­gust last year, when Laos sent troops into t he dis­puted area in Stung Treng prov­ince, de­mand­ing a ha lt to a road be­ing con­structed by Cam­bo­dian mil­i­tar y en­gi­neers, lead­ing to a tense stand­off.

Ac­cord­ing to bor­der of­fi­cials, Cam­bo­dia and Laos share a 540km bor­der and need to in­stall 145 de­mar­ca­tion posts. So far both sides have in­stalled 121 posts, with 24 in Preah Vi­hear and Stung Treng prov­inces still out­stand­ing.

Mean­while, Sry Tham­rong, a min­is­ter at­tached to the prime min­is­ter, said Cam­bo­dia and Viet­nam are to sign six doc­u­ments, fo­cus­ing on land, wa­ter and air trans­port co­op­er­a­tion, ed­u­ca­tion, bor­der posts and the fa­cil­i­ta­tion of trade, when the prime min­is­ter’s del­e­ga­tion lands in Viet­nam for an of­fi­cial visit from Fri­day to Satur­day.


Prime Min­is­ter Hun Sen walks through a guard of hon­our ac­com­pa­nied by his Lao coun­ter­part Thon­gloun Sisoulith on his ar­rival in Vientiane on Wed­nes­day.

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