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Govt cancels Thai road loan

Govt cancels Thai road loan

091130_05
The mother of a Thai national being held on spying charges arrives Friday to visit him in prison.

CAMBODIA annulled a US$41 million loan from Thailand on Friday, as family members visited the jailed Thai engineer who has become embroiled in the diplomatic spat between the two countries.

The loan, which had been finalised in August, was to have funded renovations of National Road 68, connecting Siem Reap and Oddar Meanchey provinces with Thailand.

“We have sent the diplomatic note for the cancellation of the loan agreement because Cambodia has its own ability to build this road,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong said, adding that Prime Minister Hun Sen will preside over a groundbreaking ceremony for the project on December 5.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva called the loan cancellation the result of “confusion”, downplaying the move’s political significance.

“On one hand, they wanted us to confirm we would lend them the money, and on the other hand, they were afraid we would not extend the loan to them. So they opted to cancel the loan first,” Abhisit told Bangkok’s The Nation newspaper.

Also on Friday, Sivarak Chutipong met with his mother and brother, Simarak Na Nakornphnom and Pongsuree Chutipong, at Prey Sar prison.

Sivarak was arrested on November 12 after leaking the flight schedule of Thai former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to the Thai embassy during the fugitive billionaire’s visit to Cambodia earlier this month.

Sivarak, who faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of spying, is scheduled to stand trial on December 8.

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