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Call for Government to ‘Step Down’ Over Border


A military vehicle with a mounted grenade launcher makes its way during clashes between Thai and Cambodia in Surin province, northeastern Thailand, Thursday, April 28, 2011. Thai and Cambodian military commanders agreed to a cease-fire Thursday after sev

A military vehicle with a mounted grenade launcher makes its way during clashes between Thai and Cambodia in Surin province, northeastern Thailand, Thursday, April 28, 2011. Thai and Cambodian military commanders agreed to a cease-fire Thursday after sev

Exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy issued on open letter Wednesday demanding that the administration of Prime Minister Hun Sen step down over his handling of the border conflict with Thailand.

If the government cannot peacefully resolve the border issue, he wrote, “this government must step down to allow Cambodia to avoid wars and losing land to the west and to the east.”

His letter came amid continued fighting on Wednesday and ahead of a reported ceasefire between Thai and Cambodian generals on the border Thursday.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan called the letter a “desire for attention” that ignored positive surveys that say many believe the country is moving in the right direction.

“Even though he does not have the support of the public, who are the Cambodian people, he still confronts [the prime minister],” Phay Siphan said.

The government is pursuing strategies to solve the border conflict with Thailand, he said, and the government is working with Vietnam to shore up border areas peacefully.

Sam Rainsy claims the government is ignoring the Paris peace agreement, which ensures Cambodia’s territorial sovereignty.

Sam Rainsy said his uprooting of markers along the Vietnamese border in 2009 was a victory. He is facing 12 years in prison sentences of a variety of charges stemming from his accusations that Cambodia has ceded land to Vietnam.

Both Vietnam and Thailand claim they have not encroached on Cambodian land.

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