King, PM Met To Discuss VN Border Issue

Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Monday that he met with King Norodom Sihamoni at the Royal Palace on Sunday to discuss the border issue and his ex­tensive discussions with the King on the topic went on into the eve­ning.

“I reported all aspects about the border to His Majesty until eight in the evening,” Hun Sen said at the inauguration of a high school in Pursat province.

Hun Sen added that he spoke with the King on the phone be­fore the meeting about the sup­ple­mental border agreement with Vietnam, and that he also briefed Prince Norodom Ranariddh on the issue at Phnom Penh Inter­national Airport while waiting for the King’s plane to arrive from China on Sat­urday.

Officials at the Royal Palace and the Royal Cabinet could not be reached Monday to confirm Hun Sen’s statements.

Hun Sen said last month that the monarchy could be dissolved if the King does not sign off on the controversial border agreement.

Hun Sen emphasized during his Monday speech that the cooperation between the CPP and Fun­cinpec was essential to maintain peace and that the border issue must not be used to “damage peace.”

“We must leave no chance for anyone to destroy the peace and political stability that we have achieved,” he said.

Hun Sen said he had also spoken about the importance of maintaining peaceful borders with the leaders of Vietnam, Thai­land, Laos and Burma during the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Me­kong Economic Cooperation Strategy meeting in Bangkok last week.

Peaceful frontiers promote economic development and alleviate poverty along the border, Hun Sen said.

“This idea was welcomed by all leaders,” he said, “particularly [Thai Prime Minister] Thaksin Shina­watra who gave the strong­est support.”

Opposition Senator Ung Bun-Ang praised the pursuit of peace and prosperity but warned that it must not come at the price of free speech and dialogue.

“We need peace and stability,” he said. “But we should make a distinction between graveyard peace and stability and normal peace and stability.”

Ung Bun-Ang praised a Sat­urday meeting at which Deputy Prime Minister Sok An explained the border issue to lawmakers but stres­sed that it was im­portant to have an open, in­formed debate with the public as well.

 

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