The government plans to sign a land border agreement with Vietnam in March, even though one point of contention remains unresolved, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Tuesday.
After meeting with Nguyen Van An, chairman of the Vietnamese National Assembly, Hun Sen told reporters outside the Council of Ministers that six border issues had already been successfully negotiated.
“Among the seven points [of contention], six have been resolved. There remains only one point,” he said over Apsara radio.
Hun Sen did not specify what any of the disputes were about. The government will try to resolve the remaining issue, he said, but even if that doesn’t happen, an agreement on the other six issues can be signed in March.
“Both sides think it is necessary not to let anything happen along the border,” Hun Sen said.
National Assembly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh, speaking to reporters outside the Assembly on Wednesday, said his talks with Nguyen Van An also were fruitful.
“I raised the border issue with Vietnam’s National Assembly president, and he agreed that we must have the will to solve this matter,” Prince Ranariddh said.
But the prince warned that Cambodia’s integrity must not be sacrificed in the name of quick resolution, and hinted that the premier was timing the agreement to boost his party in next July’s elections.
“From my point of view, border issues are part of the life of our nation, so we have a strong will to solve them,” the prince said. “But that doesn’t mean we should rush too quickly to get it done before 2003. We are Cambodian—we have to look out for our Cambodian national interests.”