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Opposition Continues Demarcation Campaign

  • Chun Sakada
  • VOA Khmer

Fourteen opposition lawmakers submitted a request to the Constitutional Council on Thursday to postpone demarcation of the border with Vietnam in Svay Rieng province.

Fourteen opposition lawmakers submitted a request to the Constitutional Council on Thursday to postpone demarcation of the border with Vietnam in Svay Rieng province.

Villagers in the province’s Chantrea district say they have lost farmland to Vietnamese encroachment, and the Sam Rainsy Party attempted to stall border demarcation in the area in the National Assembly in March.

Cambodia shares 1,270 kilometers with Vietnam and is in the midst of negotiations to plant 128 of 305 border posts. Border issues are politically contentious in Cambodia, where disputed territory remains with neighbors Thailand and Vietnam.

Opposition lawmakers had proposed in March sending a letter on behalf of the National Assembly to Hun Sen, asking that demarcation at sites 184-187 be halted.

National Assembly President Heng Samrin declined, saying that conversations between the Sam Rainsy Party and the government typically have no results.

In its new request to the Constitutional Council, the opposition party requests again a stop to border demarcation at the four sites, saying they constitute a violation of Cambodia’s constitutional right to sovereignty.

The party claims the original borders from maps by the Geographic Service of Indochina in 1933 and 1953 have been encroached on.

Penn Thol, a member of the Constitutional Council and its spokesman, said the council had received the request.

“The whole council has the right to examine and decide on this request,” he said. “They sent the request to us in conformity with procedure. We will not take this request to throw away.”

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy is currently in self-imposed exile, after he was found guilty of destruction of property and incitement for knocking down border posts in Chantrea district. He is also facing a second suit by the government, for posting a border map on his party Web suit the government claims is false.

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