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No reconciliation yet with Thais

GOVERNMENT officials have dismissed comments made this week by Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who said Cambodia should take the first steps to restore the two countries’ damaged relationship.

On Wednesday, Thai media quoted Abhisit as saying that the ball was “in the Cambodian court” regarding reinstatement of ambassadors withdrawn by both countries last year.

Cambodian Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said yesterday that an improvement in relations depended on Thailand, which withdrew its ambassador from Phnom Penh after the Cambodian government appointed fugitive former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra as a government adviser last year.

He added that Cambodia did not mind waiting for a Thai response. “If Thailand still does not do it, the diplomatic relations will be kept at the level of acting chargé d’affairs, and Cambodia will not mind,” he said.

“The stance of the government of Cambodia has not changed. It’s still the same: If Thailand sends back its ambassador first then Cambodia will send [its envoy] 15 minutes later.”

After the withdrawal of Thailand’s ambassador on November 4, Cambodia reciprocated, plunging relations to their worst point in years.

Koy Kuong also critised Thailand’s stated intention to oppose the consideration of Cambodia’s management plan for the disputed Preah Vihear temple at a UNESCO meet in Brazil later this month.

“It reflects Thailand’s unwillingness to restore diplomatic relations between the two nations,” he said.

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