Laos to withdraw troops as Hun Sen visits

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.

Cambodia and Laos on Saturday on Saturday agreed to withdraw their troops from the border between them Cambodia had accused Laotian troops of encroaching on its territory.

Hun Sen said a border commission from both countries would begin working in the area once troops have withdrawn.

“We are not waging war, but we just want our land back”, he said, adding that he was running out of patience with “the invasion” by Laos troops.

An official at the Lao embassy in Phnom Penh told Reuters on Friday the border area was the subject of a territorial and demarcation dispute.

“I’ve ordered the authorities involved to withdraw troops from that area by tomorrow morning”, Thongloun said. He urged Cambodians not to be alarmed if they see military forces on the move.

“I appeal to Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith to withdraw troops from Cambodian territory without any conditions”, Hun Sen said during a ceremony in Phnom Penh. “We don’t want to have a dispute with Laos, but we also can not allow the situation remain like this anymore”. Later on Friday Cambodia’s foreign ministry announced that Hun Sen would fly to the Laos capital Vientiane on Saturday to meet with his counterpart to hash out a solution.

Hun Sen said he had talked over the phone in recent months with the Laotian prime minister and recently sent him a letter but hadn’t received an official reply.

“Our biggest success is that there is no dispute that can’t be solved”, Hun Sen. His party won decisively in the 2008 general election, but lost seats in 2013 and is expected to face a strong challenge next year.