Border Chief Questioned Over Vietnam-Cambodia Demarcation

Var Kimhong, chairman of Cam­bodia’s Joint Border Committ­ee, is scheduled to answer questions Thursday before the National As­sembly over contentious demarcations efforts along the Vietnam border, officials said yesterday.

The Assembly’s Deputy Pre­sident Nguon Nhel said the appearance was scheduled at the request of Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay.

“He will focus on how the placement of border posts worked on the eastern side,” Mr Nhel said. “Var Kimhong will have to answer every question that Son Chhay has asked.”

Mr Chhay said the SRP plans to press Mr Kimhong on how the border posts in Svay Rieng province were agreed on, given that local villagers have complained about land en­croach­ment by Vietnam.

“We will talk about the legal pro­ce­dures of demarcating the border posts,” he said, adding he will pro­vide evidence to Mr Kim­hong ga­thered by a visiting SRP delegation about land loss by Cam­bodian residents.

The opposition lawmaker said the SRP would also furnish photo­graphs of the area that reveal physical changes in the landscape caused by the boundary markings.

“We will focus on the technical issue, how it was implemented, why villagers complained; we want him to explain technically,” Mr Chhay said.

Mr Kimhong declined to comment about his upcoming testimony, referring questions to the Assembly.

Mr Nhel ruled out villagers’ concerns about their loss of farmland, adding the government followed a map from the 1960s regime of then- Prince Norodom Sihanouk during the demarcated process.

“We based the map from that of the 1960s when Samdech Sihanouk claimed independence, the map is stored at the United Nations and the international community recognized it,” Mr Nhel said.

He added the villagers do not have the right to claim ownership over certain rice fields simply be­cause they have been farming the land for a long time.


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