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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Security boost for Thai PM

Security boost for Thai PM

Riot and plainclothes police readied to quell protesters

SECURITY will be tightened in Phnom Penh during a one-day visit Monday by the Thai prime minister, as local activists threaten to protest the presence of Thai troops at the border.   

But authorities in Phnom Penh say they will quell any street demonstrations and are already organising plainclothes and riot police to be at the ready.  

"We have the security situation under control. We won't let any protests happen during the prime minister's visit," Phnom Penh police chief Touch Naruth told the Post.

Union leader Rong Chhun said he would hold a peaceful demonstration to urge the Cambodian government to take a harder line with its neighbour and pressure the Thai government to withdraw its claim to the disputed territory.

"Every failed negotiation with Thailand gives them longer to stay on Cambodian land," said the president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, which includes 85,000 members.

"I know the authorities will try to prevent us from doing it, but we have to push because we want to force the government to have a strong commitment in its negotiations," he added. But he would not disclose the planned location of the protest for fear of pre-emptive action by police.

Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat is officially visiting as part of an Asean rule that requires all new heads of its member states to greet their neighbouring countries after taking office.

"But the visit is really to talk about the border issue," said Koy Kuong, an undersecretary of state at the Foreign Ministry.  

He said Somchai would meet with Prime Minister Hun Sen, Senate President Chea Sim and National Assembly President Heng Samrin, while the foreign ministers of both sides hold separate talks.

Negotiations to discuss border demarcation and troop withdrawals have been postponed since late August when political unrest in Bangkok all but froze the operations of the Thai government.  

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