Cambodia, Laos Agree to Unite Against Drug Smuggling

In an effort to prevent cross-bor­der drug smuggling, Cam­bod­ia and Laos on Tuesday ag­reed to cooperate on narcotics control.

Visiting Lao Deputy Prime Min­ister Somsavat Lengsavad and Cambodia’s Foreign Minis­ter Hor Namhong signed an ag­ree­­ment that will prompt both coun­t­ries to strengthen border con­­trol, share information and co­operate in investigating criminals.

Chum Sounry, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, characterized the agreement as a preventative measure, maintaining that neither country has seen major smuggling operations yet. He noted, however, such activities are widespread in the region, especially in the notorious Golden Triangle area where Burma, Thailand and Laos meet.

“It is a new issue for both countries that the world is paying attention to,” Chum Sounry said after the signing ceremony.

The two countries’ national drug-control authorities are scheduled to meet at least once a year while local authorities along the border will meet every six months, according to the deal.

“It would be useful to prevent the drug smuggling…if we en­force the agreement properly,” said Somsavat Lengsavad, who led the Lao delegation at the fourth meeting of the Joint Com­mission for Bilateral Cooperation.

During the joint commission meeting, the two parties also agreed to cooperate to protect the environment and prevent illegal logging, Chum Sounry said. Environmental watchdog Global Witness reported last year that Laos was a transit point for a shipment of illegal logs being exported from Cambodia to Thailand.

Both also reaffirmed an agreement that Cambodia would buy electricity from Laos to supply power for border prov­inces, Chun Sounry added.

Lengsavad is visiting with Laos-based Asean ambassadors from Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Burma and the Phil­ippines to discuss economic reform in Cambodia.

. The Asean delegation met Cambodian counterparts to discuss economic reforms in Cambodia.

Foreign Ministry Secretary of State Uch Kim An briefed the delegation on the new open-skies policy in tourism and a plan to develop the road from Poipet to Siem Reap, an official said.

through the Cambodia-Lao border

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