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P Penh set to revive ties with Rangoon

P Penh set to revive ties with Rangoon

T he Royal Government is on the verge of re-establishing diplomatic relations

with military- run Burma, which have been severed since the '60s, Foreign

Minister Norodom Sirivudh said upon his return from a four-day working visit to

Laos last week.

The minister said he had talks with the Burmese diplomats

in Vientiane but did not elaborate on the meeting.

However Sirivudh did

say: "I think it's good that now we begin to meet our Burmese friends and I

think our two governments have an intention to make an announcement about the

re-establishment of diplomatic relations."

Vientiane might be asked to

act as a bridge for further contact between Cambodian and Burmese officials,

according to the minister.

The purpose of the visit was also to

strengthen neighborhood ties and economic co-operation with Laos, in particular

co-operation on construction of a road linking the two countries, Sirivudh

said.

He added that Cambodia and Laos were to submit the road project for

consideration of Asian Development Bank (ADB).

"We'd like to promote

access from Vientiane, Stoeng Treng to Route 13 and access to the sea for our

Laotian friends.

"Cambodia is also interested in getting access to China

through Laos and we'd like to see what's going on in Burma," said the foreign

minister.

Both countries, he said, expressed identical views on issue of

the Mekong River Committee, saying that countries which the river runs through

should not be divided by geography into northern and southern groups.

"I

think that we should not be victims and if up north they make any project

without consulting with us (Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam) the river will be

affected and we can face serious problem," the minister said.

Talks on

logging and illegal border crossing were also part of the agenda of the visit.

Khmer Rouge commander Ta Mok was reportedly to have fled to the junction

of the Cambodian-Thai-Laos border as the government advanced on his headquarters

at Anlong Veng.

Sirivuddh said he had private talks on the KR issue with

his Laotian counterparts, however, he refused to go into detail.

"I

talked about the border in general. Nobody will illegally cross the border with

weapons," he said.

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