Laos, Cambodia vow to recall troops as border dispute 'resolved'
12 August, 2017, 22:54 | Author: Laverne Higgins
Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and his visiting Cambodian counterpart Samdech Techo Hun Sen agreed here on Saturday to withdraw their troops from disputed border area between Attapu of Laos and Stung Treng of Cambodia.
"Today, we had frank talks in a friendly manner..." According to the Cambodian prime minister, 30 Laotian servicemen have been in Cambodia since April.
"I have ordered all relevant forces to withdraw not later than tomorrow morning".
Hun Sen said he had also ordered Cambodian forces sent to the border - truck-mounted rocket launchers and ground troops - to pull back in response to Laos's agreement to withdraw.
Speaking to RFA's Khmer Service, Cambodian political analyst Meas Nee said that war between Cambodia and Laos would harm both countries, and that Hun Sen's warning may now lead to talks.
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"Our biggest success is that there is no dispute that can't be solved", Hun Sen said at the news conference.
Comments on Cambodian social media meanwhile called Hun Sen's warning of military action a ploy to gain popularity ahead of national elections next year, positioning him as a "leader who dares to protect his country from invasion".
Hun Sen threatened to expel the soldiers by force if they don't leave the area by August 17.
"Moments ago, I already ordered all troops that were mobilized yesterday to go back to their positions".
Cambodia shares a 335-mile land border with Laos, but some of its large segments have not been demarcated, entailing territorial wrangles. He said his country does not want a dispute with Laos, but "we can not allow the situation" to continue. "Secondly, Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered the troops that have been built up in that area to make the situation in that area return to normalcy, restoring the belief of the people of our two countries that no undesirable incidents will happen", he added.
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