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Border Watchdog Ngo Appeals For More Investigators And Technical Supports

A border issues monitoring NGO appeals for more local and international investigators and technical supports to participate in the border demarcation and marker planting between Cambodia and Vietnam to avoid geographical error.

The appeal was done after the two countries plan to have border demarcation in September, which will finish in 2008.

The 353 new granite markers costing about $15 million, a budget from Vietnam government, are divided into 3 categories: big markers measuring 2 meters, planting at international border areas and important crossings; medium size markers, planting along 1270 km. long border between the two countries; and third kind markers for planting at flooded areas such as Kandal, Takeo, and Kampot provinces.

Organization for border protection's director Buth Reaksmey Kongkea, who used to be against the Cambodia Vietnam signing of supplemental border treaty in October, 2005, now supports this border process.

He says that he is very concerned and would like the two sides to have local and international observers and technical supports' presence, and that Cambodia still lacks capacity and technical aspect and it would be better if NGOs participate in the process.

He appeals for new border technicians and experts from civil societies, to negotiate for transparency, and successful border demarcation. He would especially like for President of Cambodia's Border Committee Sean Pengse to participate due to his expertise on border affairs.

Chairman of the government's Cambodia-Vietnam Joint Border Commission in charge of State Border Affairs Var Kim Hong says that the border demarcation will be done according to a set number and capacity agreed upon by both parties.

He says that the international community has no right to participate since it is Cambodia's and Vietnam's affairs. In his words, why can't Cambodia proceed with her own capacity and needs international help?

Opposition party lawmaker Son Chhay says that this bilateral agreement cannot guarantee Cambodia's neighboring country from using maneuvers, encroaching the border inside Cambodia. He would like to have the international community witness the process should there be future problems as proved in the past.

The Supplemental Treaty to the 1985 Treaty on the Delimitation of State Borders between Cambodia and Vietnam was signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Prime Minister of Vietnam on October 10, 2005.