Laos, Cambodia agree to withdraw troops from disputed border area

Ruben Ruiz
August 12, 2017

Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen called on Laos on Friday to withdraw troops he said have been present in Cambodia since April, threatening military action against the neighboring country if its soldiers are not pulled out by August 17, Cambodian media and other sources said.

The Cambodian strongman flew to Vientiane on Saturday to hold urgent talks with Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith.

Some 30 Laos soldiers have been stationed in Cambodia's northern Stung Treng province since April to halt the construction of a road, according to Cambodian PM Hun Sen.

"Anyway, the discussion today was frank and friendly, so that the area would not lead to forces being confrontational", he said.

Thongloun said that he and Prime Minister Hun Sen also agreed that border committees of the two countries and the Foreign Ministries would continue to have talks to find solutions to issues related to the border, where border markers have yet to be planted, as soon as possible. In order to restrain the situation in that area from being intensified and consequently developing into military confrontations, I and Prime Minister Hun Sen have agreed that the Lao side will withdraw the remaining troops...

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Comments on Cambodian social media meanwhile called Hun Sen's warning of military action a ploy to gain popularity ahead of national elections next year, positioning him as a "leader who dares to protect his country from invasion".

"Moments ago, I already ordered all troops that were mobilized yesterday to go back to their positions".

An official at the Lao embassy in Phnom Penh told Reuters on Friday the border area was the subject of a territorial and demarcation dispute.

Hun Sen said a border commission from both countries would begin working in the area once troops have withdrawn. He said his country does not want a dispute with Laos, but "we can not allow the situation" to continue.

Other reports by GizPress

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