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