Funcinpec lawmaker Princess Norodom Vicheara, chairwoman of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Commission, warned Wednesday that a national rift is growing over next month’s planned signing of an additional border agreement between Cambodia and Vietnam.
Documents obtained Sept 14 reveal that Prime Minister Hun Sen will visit Vietnam in October to negotiate a supplemental treaty based on the 1985 border agreement, which will be kept secret until after it is ratified by the National Assembly.
The princess said she believed it would be illegal for the government to sign off on the same arrangement as 1985, which critics say ceded Cambodian land to Vietnam, and which was annulled at the Paris Peace Accord in 1991.
A “national rift is growing,” the princess said. “In my opinion, it would be wrong and illegal if the government signs the 1985 border treaty with Vietnam because it affects the nation’s territorial integrity.”
“I think the government should explain its intentions and this issue clearly,” she said. “Or the whole nation will have ill suspicion of them.”
She called for a stop to negotiations until a suitable replacement for retired King Norodom Sihanouk could be appointed to lead the Supreme National Council on Border Affairs, of which she is a deputy chairwoman.
On Tuesday, National Assembly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh said it will take many years to resolve border disputes between the two countries and for a treaty to be signed.
He added that Vietnam and Cambodia have reached a compromise on six of seven points relating to the border agreement.
“There are seven points, six of which a compromise was reached,” he said. “There is one point that we cannot accept. Vietnam says we should sign all seven but it’s not right because Cambodia [will] lose a lot,” the prince said at the Olympic Stadium.
He said “Dak Dam” is the remaining point of contention, apparently referring to the commune in Mondolkiri province’s O’Reang district.