Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries.
Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration would hold a meeting with the Thai side on November 25 to reopen the Poipet International Border Checkpoint and other border crossings to facilitate cross-border trade.
“According to the meeting’s plan, we want to discuss reopening border checkpoints as normal. [We] will also open a new international border checkpoint called Stung Bot checkpoint, and discuss drug and human trafficking prevention,” he said.
He added that the Thai side requested Cambodian officials meet in Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province for the discussions and requested inspection on construction progress of the new Stung Bot International checkpoint.
He said talks on reopening the border came after the situation of Covid-19 had improved in Cambodia, with people in border provinces having already received two-doses and also booster shots.
Ly Sary said the remaining challenges on the border concerned human trafficking where Cambodian people have been deceived by brokers to illegally cross the border in search of work in Thailand. Such crossings were dangerous for them.
Deputy Governor of Battambang province Soeum Bunrith said reopening the border must first wait for agreement from both sides, as the Covid-19 situation in Thailand was still more serious than Cambodia.
“Since June, the provinces along the Cambodian-Thai border have opened to normal exchanges of goods. But the resumption of normal travel for residents is not yet allowed, pending the agreement from the Thai government.
“Our side agreed to reopen the border as usual with permission from the Royal Government [of Cambodia]. But the Thai side has yet to grant permission. So usually, the two sides must agree with each other first,” he said, adding that his provincial administration is waiting for a decision from the Thai side.
Samkhit Vien, Koh Kong provincial deputy governor said the border checkpoints in Koh Kong province have been opened for the transport of goods as normal, but the official reopening of the border has yet to be discussed.
“So far, we have not yet received information from the Thai side regarding the request to reopen the borders. Our side has no problem with reopening the border, but agreement from the Thai side is needed,” he said.