Laotian Troops Pull Out of Disputed Border Area

Dozens of Laotian soldiers pulled out of a disputed tract of border land in Stung Treng province on Saturday, following a deal struck between Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Laotian counterpart, a provincial military commander confirmed.

Svay Nhorn, the military commander for Stung Treng province, said earlier today that the Laotian soldiers withdrew back to Laos at about 4 p.m. on Saturday, after Laotian Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith agreed to order their withdrawal during a joint press conference with Mr. Hun Sen.

“Now they left the area, at 4 p.m. yesterday, and the situation has returned to normal,” Brigadier General Nhorn said.

The dispute began in April, when dozens of Laotian soldiers started building a post on a disputed tract of land along the border, apparently breaking a deal between the two countries to avoid building in an undemarcated area that a joint border committee was still seeking to resolve. The site was about 7 km from the Trapaing Kriel International Checkpoint.

On Friday, Mr. Hun Sen gave the Laotian troops a deadline of Thursday to withdraw and ordered Cambodian troops to begin heading to the area, while also announcing he would fly to Vientiane to begin negotiations with Mr. Sisoulith.

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