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Additional Border Treaty's Draft With Vietnam to be Signed by PM Hun Sen

Based on the additional border treaty's draft which VOA receives Friday, and on the Cambodian officials' allegations, Cambodia and Vietnam plan to finish their border dispute at the end of 2008, starting with the joint project to correct the border line after the signing of the additional border treaty to the 1985 border treaty with Vietnam with Prime Minister Hun Sen's historical visit to Vietnam at the beginning of next week.

Cambodia and Vietnam have been engaged in border dispute for decades and there hasn't been any solution to this conflict. Cambodia has no voice or position in the negotiations with neighboring countries, and she has not clearly marked her border, sets up the border demarcation, or review the geographical data, and has not made it clear publicly about the above issues.

This leads to questions that Cambodia can lose her territory to Vietnam. Prime Minister Hun Sen alleges that the signing of the additional border treaty will benefit the people living along the border of the two countries, and will allow them to freely use the water from the river, fishing, and travelling. He said yesterday that the French were biased when they drew the map. Based on the additional border treaty's draft, both sides will try very hard to do whatever is necessary to see that the border demarcation is clear by December, 2008.

Both sides will draw a border demarcation map between Cambodia and Vietnam to record the result of this demarcation to make an official map between the two countries.

Cambodia border's experts have not reacted to Mr. Hun Sen's plan to sign this controversial additional border treaty yet which will end the border dispute between the two countries by 2008. The Cambodia border's independent experts, the student associations, opposition party officials, and the Khmer people criticize Mr. Hun Sen's plan to sign this controversial treaty, saying it is not in accordance with the constitution, and that only the King or the head of state has the authority to sign agreements or international treaties.

They add that the 1985 border treaty is illegal and that the government should nullify it. The government spokesman and Minister of Information, Mr. Khiev Kanharith, said that the criticisms are groundless and are politically inclined. He said that it is a long road ahead yet, because the treaty has to go to the National Assembly, the Senate, and the King for ratification. If they note any point they want to change, the government can start negotiation with Vietnam again.

Cambodia Foreign Minister Hor Nam Hong, and Vietnam Foreign Minister Nguyen Dy Nien, will sign the treaty. The final treaty will bear the name of the King of the Kingdom of Cambodia, and the President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Recently former King Norodom Sihanouk opposes plans to sign border treaties with Vietnam, based on France-based Organization for Border Defense's president, Mr. Sean Pengse's letter saying that King Sihamoni will be going to Peking when the National Assembly ratifies the additional border treaty. Former King Sihanouk is thought to be against his son signing the treaty which the Assembly ratifies.