PM Promises to Resolve Border Disputes

Prime Minister Hun Sen announced plans to more clearly define the Cambodian-Thai border by amending the constitution Tuesday, and appealed to officials in the provinces and in Phnom Penh to help resolve border disputes with neighbors peacefully.

Speaking to a crowd that included provincial governors and top officials at the Ministry of Interior, Hun Sen lashed out at unnamed political parties and student protesters. He accused them of trying to instigate a “psychological war’’ over border issues. He claimed the government is working to resolve the issues.

“Right now our border committee is trying very hard to resolve the dispute in three directions,’’ he said referring to ongoing talks with Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. ‘‘But some people still are ignorant.’’

He said protesters speaking on the radio Monday distorted the government’s position on key border issues. About 50 protesters attempted to march on the Vietnamese Embassy for the second time in a month Monday, but were blocked by police on Monivong Boulevard.

“Everyone has rights to protect territory,’’ Hun Sen said. “I support the people who want to protect the land, and I ask those people who have enough documents—more than we do—to join us as advisors to the government’s border or technical committee.’’

Hun Sen announced plans to amend the Constitution to help resolve border disputes with Thailand. He said that King Norodom Sihanouk suggested the idea. Top officials from Cambodia and Thailand met in Bangkok earlier this month to discuss border issues, but the talks were not conclusive.

After the meetings, Cambodian and Thai officials offered different accounts of what transpired. Cambodian negotiators said the two sides had agreed to rely on treaties written between France and what was then Siam in 1904 and 1907. But in Thailand officials told the press that the two sides could not agree and that the meetings “proved that future talks could be filled with unforeseen problems.”

While the Constitution lays out details about the borders with Vietnam and Laos, information on Cambodia’s border with Thailand is not specific enough, Hun Sen said.


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