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PM tells France he will not fuel tension at Thai border

PM tells France he will not fuel tension at Thai border


In lunch meeting with President Sarkozy, Hun Sen said he will not allow border issue to expand 'into other areas', official says.

PRIME Minister Hun Sen has promised French President Nicolas Sarkozy that he will not provoke tension at the Thai-Cambodian border, a Council of Ministers official said Sunday.

Speaking to reporters at the airport upon the premier's return, Prak Sokhon, secretary of state at the Council of Ministers, said Hun Sen had promised the French government that he would not provoke "civil war or tension" or "allow for an enlargement [of the dispute] into other areas" as he sought to bring "justice" to the Cambodian people in the matter of the Preah Vihear temple dispute.

Prak Sokhon said Hun Sen also told Sarkozy during an official lunch that he considered the start of the trials of former Khmer Rouge leaders to be a positive development, though he said the country should also focus on issues of peace.

"It was the highest level of lunch discussion between the leaders of the two countries that we have ever had in France," Prak Sokhon said. "The French president, prime minister and minister of foreign affairs ... agreed to increase cooperation."

A few dozen government ministers and secretaries of state were present at Phnom Penh International Airport to welcome Hun Sen and his wife, Bun Rany.

Though Prak Sokhon was tight-lipped about details of the trip, he said Hun Sen had attended the opening of the Bastille Day military parade on Tuesday.

Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told the Post Sunday that officials hope bilateral cooperation between Cambodia and France will grow stronger following the visit.

"Our foreign policy is to promote bilateral cooperation in order to bring development to our country," he said.

Fabyene Mansencal, first secretary at the French Embassy in Phnom Penh, could not be reached for comment Sunday.

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