12 August, 2017
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen travelled to the Laotian capital Vientiane to meet with his counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith on Saturday to diffuse tensions surrounding the presence of Laos troops in Steung Treng province, reports Efe news.
After the talks the pair announced the issue had been resolved in a joint press conference, broadcast live on Hun Sen's Facebook.
"I have ordered relevant authorities to pull back troops by tomorrow morning", Laos' premier Thongloun Sisoulith said through a translator. "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.
He made the comments Friday during a speech in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh.
Thongloun said that he and Prime Minister Hun Sen also agreed that border committees of the two countries and the Foreign Ministries would continue to have talks to find solutions to issues related to the border, where border markers have yet to be planted, as soon as possible.
"The big success for us - our two nations - is that we don't have any dispute that we can not settle".
"Cambodian Immigration assured us that the tourists in Cambodia will be safe", he said.
The spat escalated yesterday when Hun Sen started sending military vehicles up to the area, giving Laos an ultimatum to retreat in six days or face military action. He said his country does not want a dispute with Laos, but "we can not allow the situation" to continue.
Hun Sen threatened to expel the soldiers by force if they don't leave the area by August 17.
Calls and emails to the Laos Embassy in Phnom Penh were not returned.
According to Hun Sen the Laos soldiers crossed into Cambodia to halt the construction of a road.
The neighbours said they would ask border officials to work on demarcating the disputed patch of their 540-kilometre land border, where terriorital squabbles are fairly common.