Laos says it will withdraw troops as Cambodia's Hun Sen visits

Cambodian leader says border crisis with Laos averted

Cambodian leader says border crisis with Laos averted

Cambodia and Laos reached an agreement on Saturday for Lao soldiers to pull back from their shared border after Cambodia accused Laos of sending troops into its territory, the leaders of both countries said.

The annoucement came after Prime Minister Hun Sen flew to Vientiane on Saturday to hold urgent talks with Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith.

He made the comments Friday during a speech in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh.

Around 30 Laos soldiers have been stationed in Cambodia's northern Stung Treng province since April despite repeated requests by Phnom Penh for them to leave, according to strongman premier Hun Sen.

Military commanders have been ordered to deploy troops along with multiple rocket launchers to the border area, he said, giving Laos the "ultimatum" of pulling out by August 17.

"I've ordered the authorities involved to withdraw troops from that area by tomorrow morning", Thongloun said.

"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.

According to Hun Sen the Laos soldiers crossed into Cambodia to halt the construction of a road.

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. He said his country does not want a dispute with Laos, but "we can not allow the situation" to continue.

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