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Delegation of journalists to visit Bangkok

Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith will lead a delegation of journalists to Bangkok next week to meet with representatives of the Thai government and media.

Nouv Sovathero, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Information, said the group will visit Thailand next week for four days to meet with Thai journalists and government officials to discuss information related to the border dispute between the two nations.

“The purpose of the visit is to build understanding between the journalists,” Nouv Sovathero said.

“We will share information before publishing news, to avoid confusion.”

Last month, Ongart Klampaiboon, office minister for Thai premier Abhisit Vejjajiva, met with Khieu Kanharith in Phnom Penh for a similar meeting.

The trip comes after a Bangkok Post article on Thursday quoted a Thai government intelligence report as saying that 11 recently arrested Thai nationals had received weapons training in Cambodia.

The group fled Thailand after the dispersal of antigovernment protests in Bangkok in May, the newspaper said. They allegedly received training in a jungle area roughly 200 kilometres from Siem Reap town with 28 others.

“The report said the training, which lasted about six weeks, was a rudimentary course and only some of the participants had a chance to try shooting assault rifles and grenade launchers,” the Bangkok Post said.

The group was arrested October 2, but members were not charged with any crime and were later placed in Thailand’s witness protection programme, the article said.

Tith Sothea, spokesman for the Council of Ministers’ Press and Quick Reaction Unit, denied that any Red Shirt training activities had taken place in the Kingdom.

“It is completely exaggerated information, and the information is baseless,” Tith Sothea said.

“Cambodia has never provided a base to any foreign national to do anything against their own country.”

He said the media and groups of “Thai extremists” had a habit of spreading false reports because sensitive information between the two countries was not shared properly.

Abhisit and Prime Minister Hun Sen discussed their countries’ ongoing dispute and the redeployment of troops around Preah Vihear temple during last week’s Asia-Europe Meeting in Belgium, foreign minister Hor Namhong said.

Speaking to reporters at Phnom Penh International Airport after returning from the meeting, Hor Namhong said Cambodian officials also urged the Thai parliament to approve the minutes of the three Joint Border Committee meetings held in 2008 and 2009.

JBC discussions have been stalled pending a repeatedly-delayed vote in the Thai parliament to approve of the latest rounds of negotiations.

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