Gov’t Warns Opposition MPs of Possible Consequences of Border Visit

SRP lawmakers will push on with their plans to visit a border demarcation post on the Cambodia-Vietnam border in Takeo province today, despite warnings that authorities will attempt to physically prevent them from reaching the border, an SRP official said yesterday.

The SRP sent a letter to the National Assembly President Heng Samrin on Monday, informing him of their plan to visit border demarcation post 270, located in Borei Cholsar district’s Chey Chork commune.

On Tuesday, Mr Samrin replied by writing a note on the SRP’s original letter, saying the Assembly “does not allow [the visit] and is not responsible” for any problems that may occur if the SRP lawmakers continue with their planned trip.

SRP officials have received a complaint from a farmer at the border, who claims that the newly planted temporary demarcation post is inside Cambodian territory, SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said yesterday.

Mr Sovann added that the SRP had no proof that the border marker was inside Cambodian territory and said that today’s visit to the border was simply a fact finding mission.

“We are the lawmakers so we have the obligation to monitor the border demarcation,” he said, adding that he knew of no law that could be used to prevent the delegation of at least 16 MPs from visiting the border.

“Regarding the border demarcation process in Takeo province, SRP lawmakers could go anytime for we have the right to monitor government action,” he said.

Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said that police would abide by the wishes of Mr Samrin.

“If Samdech [Heng Samrin] did not allow them to go, authorities will execute Samdech’s decision,” Lt Gen Sopheak said by telephone.

Asked whether police will block the SRP lawmakers from visiting the border, Lt Gen Sopheak said: “you will see when you get over there.”

Mr Sovann said that he was not concerned about the threat of police action because lawmakers were acting within the law by peacefully visiting the border.

“We will not do anything against the law…. If SRP lawmakers are not allowed to visit, it will mean that there is no obeying of the law and the Constitution,” he said.

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap also said that the Assembly would not be responsible for any problems that occur during the trip.

“In terms of the National Assembly president, he has the duty to protect any lawmaker’s safety during their mission,” Mr Yeap said. “If they still go, it should be their personal responsibility.”

Var Kimhong, the government’s border committee chairman, could not be contacted yesterday. Earlier this week, however, Mr Kimhong said that temporary border demarcation post 270 had been placed in the ground last Tuesday.

Mr Kimhong added that lawmakers would only be allowed to visit the site when the border demarcation process was completed between the two governments.

(Additional reporting by Mark Worley)


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