Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith (R) and his visiting Cambodian counterpart Samdech Techo Hun Sen attend a joint press conference in Vientiane, Laos, on Aug. 12, 2017. Thongloun Sisoulith and Hun Sen agreed on Saturday to withdraw their countries' troops from the disputed border area between Attapu of Laos and Stung Treng of Cambodia. (Xinhua/Soukthavy)
VIENTIANE/PHNOM PENH, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and his visiting Cambodian counterpart Samdech Techo Hun Sen agreed here on Saturday to withdraw their troops from disputed border area between Attapu of Laos and Stung Treng of Cambodia.
"Today, we had frank talks in a friendly manner," the Lao state-run news agency KPL quoted Prime Minister Thongloun as telling a joint press conference in the Lao capital of Vientiane.
"In order to restrain the situation in that area from being intensified and consequently developing into military confrontations, I and Prime Minister Hun Sen have agreed that the Lao side will withdraw the remaining troops that have been left there since Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the stoppage of building an access road in that area," the Lao prime minister said.
"I have ordered all relevant forces to withdraw not later than tomorrow morning. 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.
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.
Speaking at the joint press conference, Hun Sen praised Sisoulith's decision to pull out troops from Cambodian territory, saying that the decision had eased tensions between troops of the two countries.
"The big success for us - our two nations - is that we don't have any dispute that we cannot settle. This urgent meeting allows us to settle the issue together for the benefits of the people of the two countries," he said.
Hun Sen said that on Friday he ordered Cambodian troops to be sent to the border area in northern Stung Treng province, and after the fruitful talks with Sisoulith, he decided to order all troops to return to their barracks.
The construction of the road has been halted under the order of Hun Sen to maintain niceties with Laos.
"Again, I thank His Excellency Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith for creating a win-win situation for the people of our two countries," he said, adding that the Cambodia--Laos joint border committee would continue to work together to solve remaining issues.
Before kicking off his visit to Vientiane on Saturday, Hun Sen said on Friday that about 30 Laos soldiers have "encroached on Cambodian territory" in the areas of O Alay and O Ta Ngav in Stung Treng province bordering Laos' Attapeu province, 380 km north of Cambodian capital Phnom Penh and 570 km southeast of Vientiane, since April and issued a six-day ultimatum to the invading Laos forces to leave Cambodia, or military action will be taken against them.
Hun Sen said the Lao soldiers had "invaded Cambodian territory under the pretext of preventing Cambodia from constructing a road" along the border.
Cambodia shares about 540 km of border with Laos to the north and northeast. To date, the two neighbors have completed 86 percent of the border demarcation.