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Opposition Not Convinced of Legitimacy of Border Maps


A close-up look at one of the maps received from the United Nations at Peace Palace, August 20, 2015. (Hean Socheata/VOA Khmer)

A close-up look at one of the maps received from the United Nations at Peace Palace, August 20, 2015. (Hean Socheata/VOA Khmer)

The Cambodian government will return 18 map sections to the UN, but opposition officials say they still doubt the legitimacy of maps used in marking the border with Vietnam.

The ongoing controversy over the maps and allegations of Vietnamese encroachment along the border has strained relations between the ruling party and opposition, despite apparent gains made during political negotiations in July 2014.

Last week, the Cambodia government spent over two hours reviewing the UN maps in front of lawmakers of the National Assembly and Senate. The government then claimed the maps were similar and have the same borderline as the maps it uses to demarcate.

Phay Siphan, a spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said the maps will be returned to UN officials on Tuesday and returned to the UN library in New York.

Yim Sovann, a spokesman for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, said they have not taken an official stance on the maps, but they would like to review more maps from different sources.

“This is not finished yet, because it is very complicated,” he said. “The map is not complete; there are some missing pieces. And the map that the late King Father submitted to the UN has yet to be found. At the moment, we cannot make any assumptions.”

Phay Siphan claimed the map being used for border demarcation is legitimate, because it was enacted by the National Assembly and the king. The UN maps were only to make this clear to the Rescue Party, he said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen in July sent separate letters to the US, UK and France, requesting further verification. France has said it will send a map to Cambodia for review.

However, according to a letter posted on the Council of Ministers website, British Prime Minister David Cameron said England does not have the requested map in its national archive, but rather at the British Library.

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