Cambodia accuses Laos of border violation, threatens force


Calls and emails to the Laos Embassy in Phnom Penh were not returned.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen accused neighboring Laos on Friday of sending troops into Cambodian land in April and said they must leave by an August 17 deadline and that he was mobilizing soldiers to the border area.

After the talks the pair announced the issue had been resolved in a joint press conference, broadcast live on Hun Sen's Facebook.

"We are friends, but a friend can not step on (our) head", said the mercurial leader, who often leans on ultra-nationalist rhetoric to drum up support, especially ahead of election season.

Hun Sen said at a ceremony in Phnom Penh about 30 soldiers from Laos had crossed into the area and that some of them remained there during daytime.

"I have ordered relevant authorities to pull back troops by tomorrow morning", Laos' premier Thongloun Sisoulith said through a translator.

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The Cambodian strongman flew to Vientiane on Saturday to hold urgent talks with Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith.

"Our biggest success is that there is no dispute that can't be solved", Hun Sen said at the news conference.

Following Hun Sen's orders yesterday, a convoy of Cambodian troops and multiple rocket launchers rolled through the capital Phom Penh on their way north, eliciting cheers from onlookers. "Secondly, Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered the troops that have been built up in that area to make the situation in that area return to normalcy, restoring the belief of the people of our two countries that no undesirable incidents will happen", he added.

Cambodia shares a 335-mile land border with Laos, but some of its large segments have not been demarcated, entailing territorial wrangles.

Laos wants Cambodia to stop clearing land there for road-building and allow checks by inspection panels from both countries, the official said.