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Local bid for Mekong HQ

Local bid for Mekong HQ

CAMBODIA is insisting that the Mekong River Commission be headquartered in Phnom

Penh and claims to have Vietnamese and Laotian support for the request.

However, Thailand - the fourth signatory of the pact - has remained

silent, according to Sin Niny, the permanent secretary of the Cambodian National

Mekong Committee.

The headquarters are currently in Bangkok and Sin Niny

said: "I can hardly assume Thailand will agree to our request, but I will

explain to Thiland to agree to this very difficult decision."

He said

thailand wanted to keep the commission headquarters "for political and economic

reasons."

When the commission was first established, in 1957, the first

signing ceremony was in Phnom Penh. The Royal Palace stood at the intersection

of the river "in the right position" and the historic signing of the full

agreement at the beginning of March should be held there, he said.

Sin

Niny said the two Cambodian Prime Ministers had urged their delegation to insist

on the headquarters to be moved during the signing of the draft pact in Hanoi

last November.

"Since 1970 no big organization has been set up in

Cambodia. Now we should have one," he said.

A task force has just

finished meeting in Bangkok discussing funding arrangements and rules for the

new commission and finalizing the make-up of the secretariat.

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