Official Concerns Stop Border Conference

The government is prohibiting the French-based Cambodia’s Borders Committee from opening a conference on Wednesday, because of disputes over the group’s name and the list of participants.

Sean Masavang, secretary of the Cambodia’s Borders Com­mittee, said in a statement that rep­resentatives of the group from Europe and the US will participate in Wednesday’s Interna­tional Forum on the Borders of Cambodia at Chaktomuk theater.

But the Council of Ministers informed the group that it would not be allowed to hold its conference, said Khieu Thavika, spokes­man for the council.

“The committee organizing this conference listed top government leaders in the program without asking their permission,” Khieu Thavika said.

Var Kim Hong, chairman of the government’s border dispute committee, said the group uses the same name as the government committee. He also said that his name and Prime Minister Hun Sen’s name are listed as participants in the conference, but neither have been asked even to join the event.

“It is confusing because the government already has a border committee so why did they put the same?” Var Kim Hong asked. “And Hun Sen is not scheduled to talk so why is his and my name on the list?”

Var Kim Hong said the meeting would damage the relations be­tween Cambodia and neighboring countries, including Thai­land. Thai Prime Minister Thak­sin Shinawatra arrived in Cam­bodia today for a two-day visit.

Members of the committee could not be reached for comment.

The group was invited to speak today before the National Assem­bly’s border committee, according to a letter from parliamentarian Princess Norodom Vach­eahra.

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