THAILAND’S ambassador to Cambodia returned to the country late yesterday, ending a nine-month-long diplomatic spat over Phnom Penh’s appointment of Thailand’s fugitive former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra as an economic adviser last year.
Ambassador Prasas Prasasvinitchai, who was welcomed by Thai embassy officials as he touched down at Phnom Penh International Airport last night, was withdrawn to Bangkok in November after Cambodia made Thaksin’s appointment public. Cambodia followed suit, plunging diplomatic relations to their lowest point in years.
The latest Thai move followed Cambodia’s announcement on Monday that Thaksin – who is wanted in Thailand on graft charges and has fled into exile – had resigned from his post.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong said You Ay, Cambodia’s ambassador to Thailand, was scheduled to leave for Bangkok this morning.
“If [Prasas] arrives in Phnom Penh this evening, the Cambodian government will send its ambassador to Thailand tomorrow morning,” Koy Kuong said yesterday.
Thani Thongphakdi, deputy spokesman of the Thai foreign affairs ministry, expressed optimism about the ambassador’s reappointment.
“We appreciate the decision taken by the Cambodian government, and we believe that this augurs well for the relations between both countries,” he said.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva also said that the resignation of Thaksin and the subsequent return of Thailand’s ambassador to Phnom Penh had boosted hopes of an easing of diplomatic tensions, which have risen over the countries' border dispute.
“I believe that the normalised relations with the reinstatement of the ambassadors will clear the way for the two countries to more easily resolve all problems,” the Thai News Agency quoted Abhisit as saying.