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Sam Rainsy´s Letter to VN Prime Minister Nguen Tan Dung

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According to information supplied by the source in April 2010, the Government had recognized that the temporary border post # 185, consisting of six wooden poles which Mr. Sam Rainsy pulled out, was not a real and legal border marker and decided officially to dismantle those border posts (…). The Government reportedly itself conceded that the temporary border markers were not on the legal borderline and officially decided to dismantle them.”

Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung
Prime Minister of the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Hanoi

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

As an elected representative of the Khmer people and the leader of Cambodia’s second largest political party, I would like to extend my warmest welcome to you on the occasion of your official visit to Cambodia starting on 15 November 2010. 

I wish, but am already convinced, that your historical visit will help improve even further the already excellent relations between Cambodia and Vietnam as it will help resolve any remaining problems between our two countries. One of the problems among those to be resolved in an entirely satisfactory manner for both the Cambodian and the Vietnamese peoples so as to clear all possible misunderstanding and frustration, is the border issue. Following a border incident in Svay Rieng province on 25 October 2009 when I uprooted a few wooden poles planted on the rice field of a Cambodian farmer without her consent, there had been no reaction whatsoever from any Cambodian official or authority. The first public reaction actually came ten days later from you in person, Mr. Prime Minister. 

On 4 November 2009, the Voice of Vietnam reported, “Regarding acts and statements made by Sam Rainsy, President of the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), who recently uprooted six temporary poles for Marker 185 between Vietnam’s southern province of Long An and Cambodia’s Svay Rieng province, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung proposed that the Cambodian government take due measures to deal with Rainsy’s acts of sabotage and not permit similar cases to occur, as they negatively affect the fine relations between the two nations.” Please read the original report from Hanoi athttp://tinyurl.com/36dj98j

That border incident and its consequences have been examined by the Inter-Parliamentary Union of which both Vietnam and Cambodia are members. The IPU 6 October 2010 “Resolution on Case No. CMBD/01 – Sam Rainsy – Cambodia” reads, “On 25 October 2009, during a Buddhist Kathen celebration in Svay Rieng province, opposition leader Mr. Sam Rainsy led local villagers and officials from his party in uprooting six wooden temporary posts (border post # 185) marking the country’s border with Vietnam, which has been in a demarcation process for some time; villagers said that the Vietnamese had illegally shifted the posts onto Cambodian soil in their rice fields and that their complaints to the local authorities in this respect had remained unavailing; according to the source, the uprooting of the demarcation posts provoked strong criticism by the Vietnamese authorities, which invited the Cambodian Government to take “due measures” regarding Mr. Sam Rainsy’s “acts of sabotage” (…).”

“Following the verdict [handed down to him], Mr. Sam Rainsy gathered evidence, including an independent expertise, to prove that the temporary border demarcation posts were indeed on Cambodian territory (…). According to the Sam Rainsy Party, the border demarcation posts which remained in the municipality were removed by the Vietnamese authorities in late December 2009/early January 2010 and none of those posts have been put back in place (…). According to information supplied by the source in April 2010, the Government had recognized that the temporary border post # 185, consisting of six wooden poles which Mr. Sam Rainsy pulled out, was not a real and legal border marker and decided officially to dismantle those border posts (…). The Government reportedly itself conceded that the temporary border markers were not on the legal borderline and officially decided to dismantle them.” Please read the full text of the IPU Resolution at http://tinyurl.com/26vfuky

In response to questions from a group of Members of Parliament, Prime Minister Hun Sen officially confirmed in his 8 November 2010 letter to National **** embly President Heng Samrin that the legal status of some of the tentative border posts was more than uncertain: “In the area surrounding the tentative post # 185, in particular posts # 184 to 187 along the border between Cambodia and Vietnam, the joint technical group from the two countries is continuing their study on the actual ground in order to search for material evidence necessary for the determination of the real location of those border posts. Because the joint technical group from the two countries has not planted any border post # 185 yet, the border demarcation work – which is the work of the joint technical group to be conducted after the planting of that post – has not started yet either.” Please read official documents with questions and answers in Khmer athttp://tinyurl.com/25ulw7c

Therefore the so-called tentative border post # 185 whose uprooting by me drew such a strong reaction from you on 4 November 2009, actually had no legal existence or meaning whatsoever. Prime Minister Hun Sen even denied, in his above-mentioned letter, the mere existence of that border post # 185 which “has not been planted yet.” Therefore, I would be grateful if you would acknowledge that you actually overreacted to my pulling out a few wooden poles in Svay Rieng province and possibly encouraged some unnecessary fallout from that insignificant incident. That incident has been also examined by the European Parliament. In its “Resolution on Cambodia, in particular the case of Sam Rainsy” unanimously adopted in Strasbourg on 21 October 2010, the European Parliament notes, “The uprooting of six wooden temporary border posts at the Vietnamese-Cambodian border, which is still disputed between the two countries, took place in support of villagers who claimed to be victims of land-grabbing, saying that the Vietnamese had illegally shifted the posts onto Cambodian soil, in their rice fields, and that their complaints to the local authorities had remained unanswered.” Please read the full text of the European Parliament Resolution at http://tinyurl.com/34cq5pe

My gesture in Svay Rieng province on 25 October 2009 had a political significance only for me in my capacity as a Member of Parliament defending the interest of the Cambodian people. The European Parliament is right when it considers in its Resolution “Sam Rainsy’s gesture to be of a symbolic and clearly political nature” and his conviction as “based on an act of civil disobedience.”

I believe in, and will strive for, a genuine and deep friendship between Cambodia and Vietnam based on common interest and mutual respect. Furthermore, as I have told your colleagues in the Vietnamese government during my visit to Hanoi in 2002, I look up to the European Union as a model for regional cooperation and integration in Southeast Asia. More precisely, the reconciliation between France and Germany at the end of World War II should be a source of inspiration for Cambodia and Vietnam. From former enemies, France and Germany have become friends, allies and partners working together for common prosperity. Furthermore, the two countries, with the rest of Europe, are promoting common values related to democracy, human rights, rule of law and good governance, which are keys to the unique success story represented by the European Union.

I wish you a pleasant and fruitful stay in Cambodia. 

Respectfully,

Sam Rainsy

Member of Parliament

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