The cabinets of Cambodia and Thailand held an historic first meeting in Siem Reap
on May 31. The original meeting was scheduled to take place earlier this year, but
was postponed after the January 29 anti-Thai riots in which the Thai Embassy was
Hun Sen shakes hands with Thailandís Thaksin Shinawatra in front of Angkor Wat on May 31. The meeting between the cabinets of the two nations was delayed by the anti-Thai riots earlier this year.
At a press conference, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said both sides had discussed
the issue of terrorism. That followed the arrest in Phnom Penh of two Thai nationals
and an Egyptian on May 28 under international terrorism legislation.
"We have spoken about terrorism and this is not a new issue," Hun Sen said.
"The Thai Prime Minister has thanked me that we found the terrorist group. This
is the general relationship of cooperation against terrorism."
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said his country had no record of the men's
activities, but added that as a member of the anti-terrorism convention, his government
would cooperate in the fight against terrorism regardless of suspects' nationalities.
Asked about the cultural problems between the two nations, which contributed to the
anti-Thai feeling, Thaksin said he did not want "to talk about conflict. It
disappoints me when conflict is an issue."
Other topics that were discussed related to border security and border crossings.
On the same day, in a goodwill gesture, Thailand re-opened the border crossing at
the ancient Preah Vihear temple in northern Cambodia. It was closed more than a year
ago, ostensibly over water pollution emanating from the Cambodian side.
Both sides pledged to strengthen their bilateral relations, and Thailand agreed to
fund several infrastructure projects, including roads and a hydro-electric plant.
Hun Sen said the "historic" meeting showed that Phnom Penh's strategy was
"to extend its relations in the region".
"We want to reach new friendship and cooperation at the highest level,"