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Cambodia to Close Mekong River Commission Office


FILE - Ferries transport villagers, students and civil servants from Phnom Penh to Arey Ksat across the Mekong River as the sun sets in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

FILE - Ferries transport villagers, students and civil servants from Phnom Penh to Arey Ksat across the Mekong River as the sun sets in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Currently the commission has two secretariats, in Phnom Penh and the Laotian capital.

Cambodia has announced it will shutter the office of the inter-governmental Mekong River Commission in Phnom Penh, relocating its functions to neighboring Laos.

Prime Minister Hun Sen made the announcement on Monday following a meeting last week in Vientiane with his Laotian counterpart.

Currently the commission has two secretariats, in Phnom Penh and the Laotian capital.

Hun Sen said that the minister for water resources, Lim Kean Hor, would oversee the arrangements, which he added were intended to cut down on the amount of travel officials needed to make to fulfill their duties.

“Now if they need to work with the secretariat, they [officials] have to go to Vientiane and return to Phnom Penh, or come to Phnom Penh and return to Vientiane. So we agreed to relocate to Vientiane,” he said.

The commission’s center for flood reduction, however, would remain based in Phnom Penh, he said.

Kean Hor could not be reached for comment.

Te Navuth, secretary general of the Cambodia National Mekong Committee, said a decision about whether to relocate the commission’s 30 staff in Phnom Penh had not yet been made.

The Mekong River Commission was established to manage the Mekong’s water resources sustainably. It has four members: Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

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