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PM weighs options after note from Thais

PM weighs options after note from Thais

PRIME Minister Hun Sen is considering whether to raise Cambodia’s ongoing border dispute with Thailand at the upcoming ASEAN summit in the Thai resort town of Hua Hin, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thursday.

The Thai and Cambodian foreign ministries have been communicating on this point since Monday, when Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong sent a letter to his Thai counterpart, Kasit Piromya, proposing that their countries’ disagreement be included on the agenda for Hua Hin.

In a news conference on Wednesday, Hor Namhong said that in the absence of diplomatic communication from Thailand on this matter, Hun Sen would, perhaps, choose to discuss the border dispute at the summit.

On Thursday, however, Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said his office had received a response from Kasit that expressed desire for bilateral rather than international talks. The letter added that an article appearing last week in the Bangkok Post, in which Kasit apparently expressed support for ASEAN arbitration, had in fact misquoted him.

“Cambodia will consider [Kasit’s letter], but I’m not sure whether Samdech Hun Sen will raise or will not raise these issues at the ASEAN summit,” Koy Kuong said. “I don’t know at the moment, but I think that he may perhaps not raise the issues.”

Hor Namhong said Wednesday that Cambodia may eventually bring its border dispute with Thailand in front of an international arbiter such as the UN security council. For now, however, Cambodia is content to discuss the issue bilaterally through the Joint Border Commission, Koy Kuong said.

“[The commission] is OK, provided Thailand speeds up its internal procedure,” he said. “So far, the bilateral solution has been very slow because of the Thai side.”

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