Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong to Visit Thailand on Border Talks

By Soy Sophea

Cambodia and Thailand will have a meeting of the multi-committee between the two countries in Bangkok to push the measurement for border demarcation. The plan was announced by Hor Namhong, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, speaking to reporters after a signing ceremony of receiving over US$33 million of grant aid from Japanese government in Phnom Penh on July 30. ( Hor Namhong, Cambodian FM minister)

“I will go to Thailand for the meeting of the multi-committee with Thai counterpart in Bangkok scheduled on August 3-4,” Namhong said. “I will require the Thai side to continue discussion on the border issues and the Border Committees from both countries will meet soon to discuss the measurement of the border to reach to plant border posts between two countries.”

The Cambodian Foreign Minister continued to say that the situation at the areas near Preah Vihear temple are calm now, adding that Thai sides have deployed their troops on Thai soil. It is simple for deploying troops in their land, and it is not threat for Cambodia.

“Thai and Cambodian troops have not had any recent tensions at the border,” he said. “Currently, we have not seen any matters arise at the border and it is not like the media’s report.”

At the same time, Namhong expressed his thanks to the Thai side that Thai government cabinet had approved on Tuesday to provide $41.2 million soft loan for road improvement projects in Cambodia, and the fund will be used to build Road 68 near border with Thailand.

“The road will help facilitate the trade and tourism between the two countries,” he said. “Cambodia and Thailand will open more border gates to push and facilitate the trade and tourism.” However, he could not confirm number of the gates that will plan to open.

Cambodia and Thailand share over 800 kilometers long border between the two countries. The troops from both sides have been in confrontation since July 15, 2008, mainly around the 11th century Preah Vihear temple.

Var Kimhong, Senior Minister in charge of Border Affairs (JBC) who will accompany the Deputy Prime Minister, Hor Namhong, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to the meeting with the Thai side in Bangkok, Thailand early next week, stated that beside discussion of culture and economy, Cambodian delegation will also talk on border issue.

The Senior Minister Kimhong said that Cambodia and Thailand had agreed for a joint boundary meeting in Phnom Penh in April 2009, and signed a joint contract for three notes in order to pave the way for a Cambodian-Thai joint Technical group to begin working with both the Cambodian and Thai sides to measure and research for boundary posts of the two countries. He said that the Thai side has taken those documents for discussion at the Thai Council of Ministers. But the Thai Assembly President who recently Cambodia said his Council of Ministers had already approved the documents while he was paying a courtesy call to the Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“We will ask the Thai side to answer clearly on when the sending of the joint Cambodian-Thai Technical Group to measure the joint boundary line and to research boundary posts will start,” he said. “Cambodia has already prepared to work on these issues as soon as possible, but the measuring and the researching for boundary posts will depend on decision of the Thai side.”

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