Authorities still waiting for word on Lao project

Source: Phnom Penh Post | Tue, 19 April 2016, by Vong Sokheng

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A motorcyclist drives a passenger across the Laos-Cambodia border in Stung Treng province in 2013. PHong Menea

Police and military officials in Stung Treng province’s Thala Barivat district said they are still awaiting a response after requesting a meeting with their Laotian counterparts to discuss the construction of a military base by Lao armed forces near a still-undemarcated stretch of the border.

Ek Syvanndorn, the province’s deputy police chief in charge of border affairs, said that while the police and military were on alert all last week, the situation remained calm given that both countries were celebrating the New Year holidays.

However, he added that “our Laotian counterparts have not responded to our diplomatic note, and we want to set up a meeting but cannot decide the time”.

Police and military officials were put on alert after the Lao armed forces began work on a new military base in what they claim is part of Laos’ Champasak province.

On April 1, Laotian trucks, which were using Cambodia’s National Road 7 to move building materials, were blocked from the disputed area.

“They cannot do anything in the disputed area,” said Syvanndorn. Attempts by provincial authorities requesting that Champasak’s governor cease construction of the base were also met with no success.

Chum Sounry, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said yesterday that he had yet to receive any update from provincial authorities.

“Such problems with border affairs will be resolved by the local authorities,” he said.

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