A Change of Guard

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Saturday, 30 January 2010

Temporary Border Post Sits Well Inside Cambodian Torritory

Sam Rainsy’s clarification published in The Cambodia Daily, January 30-31, 2010

In your article "By Video, Sam Rainsy Courts International Support" (January 29, page 1), you wrote, "Mr Rainsy pointed again to maps created by the Sam Rainsy Party."

I would like to stress that the SRP has not "created" any map. The ones we have recently presented are well-known official maps used and put forward by the Royal Cambodian Government itself. They are the French-era 1952 1/100,000 map and the US Army 1966 1/50,000 map. The 1952 map was deposited at the United Nations by the RCG under then-Prince Norodom Sihanouk [in 1964] in order to help secure international guarantee for Cambodia’s borders as inherited from the French colonial administration.

The SRP technical work on this issue is rigorously based on the above-mentioned official maps and consists of a two-step demonstration that anybody with good faith can easily follow or check:

1- Go on the spot, meaning to the exact location of the "temporary border post #185" in Svay Rieng province which I pulled out on October 25, and get the exact and precise geographic coordinates of that spot using a GPS device. The data collected are also known as GPS locations.

2- Locate on the maps the precise position of this "temporary border post #185" according to its geographic coordinates as collected from the GPS device. This can be done manually using a simple computer-designed grid as shown in SRP document "How to manually position border posts on a map," available at http://tinyurl.com/ycmw48z . The same result can be obtained more quickly by using specific computer programs.

The result is clear and irrefutable: The "temporary border post #185" sits well inside Cambodia’s territory, at a distance between 250 meters and 300 meters from the legal border with Vietnam as delineated on any of the two existing official maps.

Therefore, I did not pull out any real and legal border post, and the accusation against me and two Cambodian farmers, victims of land grab associated with border encroachment, is groundless.

Any independent map expert anywhere in the world could certify the accuracy of the SRP presentation provided the geographic coordinates (collected at Step 1) are accurate. The methodology itself (used at Step 2) would be acceptable by all.

Therefore, in order to allow a transparent assessment and a fair judgment, the government should publicize, and the court should ask for, the GPS locations of the concerned "temporary border post #185" and those of similar alleged border demarcation markers in the immediate vicinity.

At my trial on January 27, a representative from the government Border Committee denied my lawyer’s request that the court be given the geographic coordinates of "temporary border post #185" because, he said, this data is "confidential and secret."

But anybody now (journalists, diplomats, observers, ordinary citizens) can obtain this "confidential and secret" data by going on the spot with a GPS device. They will see by themselves where the truth stands. They will help uphold justice.

Sam Rainsy
Member of Parliament
President of the Sam Rainsy Party

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