Memo to VN Embassy Not Released by Gov’t

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has yet to release the official version of a diplomatic memo sent to the Vietnamese Embassy on Thurs­­day allegedly requesting that Vietnam stop suspected border in­cursions by Vietnamese soldiers.

A draft of the memo was distributed to local media Thursday, but the Foreign Ministry has not re­leased an official copy of the memo bearing the seal of the Royal Government of Cambodia. Some ob­servers speculate that this is be­cause the two versions might have substantial differences.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs requests that the Vietnamese Government instruct the concerned Vietnamese authorities to immediately stop these activities that could affect the good friendship and cooperation between the two countries,” the draft memo released to lo­cal media read.

Vora Huy Kanthoul, secretary of state for foreign affairs, confirmed Mon­day that the ministry sent a memo to the Vietnamese Em­bas­sy late last week about alleged cases of border incursions in Svay Rieng province. He said an official me­mo in English was sent to the Viet­namese Embassy but could not confirm whether it was the same as the draft released to local media outlets by the ministry’s press department.

Long Visalo, secretary of state for foreign affairs, on Friday told re­porters that he sent the official version of the memo to the Vietnam­ese Embassy last Thursday, and that it was not the first time the ministry had notified the Vietna­mese Embassy about al­leged cases of border incursions.

“Yes, the three cases were true,” he said when asked about the incidents  in Svay Rieng province .

According to the draft memo and Khmer-language media re­ports, Vietnamese soldiers along the border on July 4 and 5 de­stroyed a farmers’ fence; on July 19, demanded that a farmer stop farming on territory belonging to Cambodia; and on July 20, arrested a farmer and seized his plow and three water buffaloes.

Buth Raksmey Kongkea, director of the Khmer Border Protection Organization, said he suspects the official memo sent to the Vietnamese Embassy may differ from the one released to local media.

“I appeal to the ministry to publicize the official memo,” he said.

Officials at the Vietnamese Em­bassy declined to comment.

the memo Monday and Tuesday.


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