Regional Leaders Discuss Socioeconomic Development Plan

Prime Minister Hun Sen met with the leaders of neighboring Laos and Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City Saturday amid an atmosphere of “solidarity and friendship” to discuss developing the border area jointly shared by the three countries, according to an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Hun Sen, Vietnam Prime Min­ister Phan Van Khai and Lao Prime Minister Bounnhang Vora­chith agreed to implement the “Vietnam-Cambodian-Laos De­velop­ment Triangle” to speed up socio-economic development of the region, the official said. No date has been set for implementing the program.

The prime ministers agreed to upgrade transportation links to promote trade and tourism. Rat­anakkiri and Stung Treng are the first two Cambodian provin-ces slated for development, along with Attapu and Se Kong prov­inces in Laos and Kon Tum, Gia Lai and Dak Lak provinces in Vietnam.

Constructing an interconnected electricity grid between Cam­bodia, Laos and Vietnam was also discussed, an important issue in Cambodia, where only a fraction of the rural population has access to reliable and cheap electricity.

The leaders also discussed how to ensure “security and so­cial order” along their borders, prevent terrorism and combat drug trafficking.

The meeting was a follow-up to an Oct 20, 1999, gathering in Vientiane. The leaders agreed to meet in Phnom Penh in 2003. Officials from the embas­sies of Laos and Vietnam could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

Hun Sen was scheduled to visit the southern Vietnamese pro­vince of Song Nai on Sunday, where he was to honor Cam­bodian soldiers killed while fighting in Vietnam, Agence France-Presse reported.

 

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