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Border, Mekong on Agenda for Regional Meeting

Lawmakers on Wednesday named 24 members to join an annual Asian parliamentary meeting to be held in Hanoi later this year and where Cambodia hopes to float proposals to resolve border conflicts and better define the use of the Mekong River.

Cambodia is facing political pressure over border demarcation with Vietnam while it continues a two-year military standoff with Thailand on disputed land on the northern frontier.

Policymakers are also grappling with how to best balance the needs of people who depend on the Mekong for survival with the energy needs of the country’s growing economy.

The 24 lawmakers from the National Assembly and Senate will take these issues and others to the 31st General Assembly of the Asian Inter-Parliamentary Assembly in September.

The delegation will include National Assembly President Heng Samrin; Cheam Yiep, a National Assembly member who is head of the AIPA national group; and Pen Panha, head of the National Assembly’s legal committee.

Cheam Yiep said members will focus on political stability, security, social order, human and drug trafficking, economics and social matters. He will bring with him a proposal on Mekong River usage as well as ecotourism.

A National Assembly delegation traveled to Vietnam Wednesday to study AIPA procedures.

AIPA member states include Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore and the Philippines. Burma, which has no National Assembly, is a special observer.