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Border talks revealed

Border talks revealed

H IGH-LEVEL Thai military officers and Thai logging firms operating in Cambodia met

to discuss border issues Mar 28. This refutes comments made by Thai Prime Minister

Chavalit Yongchaiyuth to the press and lobby groups that there is no formal cooperation

from the Thai military.

A letter obtained by the Post from Cambodian Ambassador to Thailand Roland Eng to

Foreign Minister Ung Huot and Minister of Agriculture Tao Seng Huor details a meeting

between the Thai National Security Council and Thai timber firms Mar 28.

Eng claims that the meeting was convened to settle all Thai logging companies' proposals

to open all border crossings for Thai loggers to [import] sawn timber from Cambodia.

The Thai Foreign Affairs Officer who revealed the meeting to Eng stated that "the

reason for opening these checkpoints stems from numerous Cambodian ministries wanting

to export sawn timber. As to which ministry made such a demand, the Royal Embassy

hasn't received yet official documents and is still trying to find out the actual

source."

"I think that this is further evidence of complicity between Thai logging companies

and the Thai state. They have always said that isn't the case, and that seems to

indicate that there is a lot of high-level cooperation," said Simon Taylor of

Global Witness.

He says that his organization plans to inform the Consultative Group in Paris next

month.

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