Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bilateral talks with Thailand hailed by FMs

Bilateral talks with Thailand hailed by FMs

Bilateral talks with Thailand hailed by FMs

Officials say border row won't hinder warming of relations.

FOREIGN ministers from Cambodia and Thailand resumed joint policy talks for the first time in three years Wednesday after months of fractious relations over a border temple dispute.

Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and his Thai counterpart Kasit Piromya met at a Bangkok hotel to discuss the spat and deeper economic ties.

Clashes near the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple have left several soldiers dead since July 2008, when the temple was granted UN World Heritage status, and tensions have also arisen over disputed waters where both countries have granted oil and gas exploration rights to private companies.

High-level delegations have met at various times over the past year in an attempt to heal the rifts, but Wednesday's meeting is the first time since 2006 that ministers have convened their joint policy commission.

The body had previously met once a year to oversee relations between the two countries.

Hor Namhong hailed the meeting for promoting "progress" between the two countries after his return from talks, adding, however, that he urged Thailand's parliament to approve recommendations from previous border talks that are hoped to speed a resolution to the dispute over territory contested by the neighbours.

"The agreement should be approved as soon as possible ... so that the Joint Border Commission can begin demarcating the border," he said.

The foreign ministers said earlier that they would resume the joint technical committee on the maritime dispute and vowed the disagreement would not be an obstacle.

"Our problems will not trouble our relations. Whatever our troubles are, we will solve them," Kasit said following the two-hour meeting.

Whatever our troubles are, we will solve them.

The pair also reached agreements on efforts to fight human trafficking and an arrangement that will allow some prisoners, after serving minimum periods of imprisonment, to be transferred in order to serve their remaining sentences in their own countries.
The discussions took in economic ties, as well, with Hor Namhong saying the pair had discussed opening a new border crossing in Banteay Meanchey province.

"[Prime Minister] Abisit Vejjajiva agreed to study this and push to open [the new border crossing] soon," he said, adding that Cambodia had also urged Thailand to ease restriction on the purchase of produce from Cambodian farmers along the border.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP

MOST VIEWED

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • Sam Rainsy, government group set to clash at IPU Geneva meet?

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy has been invited to speak at the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, according to a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker. A government delegation is also set to attend the meeting, a National Assembly press release