At a news conference at the Phnom Penh International Airport on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said the signing of the supplemental agreement to the 1985 border treaty would provide relief to Cambodia, and placed blame for any territorial losses squarely on the shoulders of “French colonialism.”
He alleged that it was the Brevie line, not any Cambodian government that had given away Cambodian territory.
“Where did border problems between Cambodia and Vietnam originate? From the CPP, the government headed by Samdech Hun Sen?” he asked. “It is the legacy left by French colonialism,” the minister said.
“How should we solve them? By fighting or negotiation?” he also asked. “I think we have no choice but to negotiate.”
He added that the treaty would neither gain nor lose Cambodian territory but would instead settle the contentious border issue by defining, once and for all, a clear line between Cambodia and Vietnam.
Hor Namhong also countered critics who said the signing of the treaty was too wrapped in secrecy.
“The treaty will be fully open and transparent when it is set for ratification by the National Assembly,” he claimed.
The foreign minister also countered suggestions that King Norodom Sihamoni would not sign the treaty, insisting that the government would submit the treaty to the King for his approval and that the King had given no indications that he would not sign it.
He defended as well promises by Hun Sen to sue anyone who criticized him of ceding Cambodian land.
“The allegations are serious and part of a political agenda, which is why Hun Sen filed a lawsuit to find justice,” he maintained.
Mam Sonando, owner and director of independent Beehive radio, was arrested Tuesday and charged with defamation after broadcasting an interview critical of the premier’ record on border negotiations.
Var Kimhong, chairman of the government’s border committee, also retorted to allegations that the 1985 treaty violated the 1991 Paris Peace Accords, arguing that no party to the 1991 accords had ever demanded the 1985 treaty be annulled.