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Talks off, talks on

Talks off, talks on

GOVERNMENT officials said yesterday that the anticipated meeting between Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai counterpart Abhisit Vejjajiva in New York would go ahead as planned, despite Thai media reports quoting Abhisit as saying he may be too busy.

Hun Sen and Abhisit are scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the second ASEAN-US Leaders’ Meeting in New York on Friday to discuss the ongoing border tensions between the two nations.

But the Bangkok Post yesterday quoted Abhisit as saying there might not be enough time to discuss the border spat with Hun Sen, with the meeting between United States President Barack Obama and leaders of the 10-member ASEAN bloc slated to discuss various regional economic and environmental issues.

“I am not sure whether there will be enough time for talks on the border row around Preah Vihear temple, and it is not easy to get down to the details,” he was quoted as saying. “But I can assure you that both countries want to solve the problems between them peacefully since they are good neighbours.

“The border row is a bilateral issue, and it will not be necessary to seek assistance from other ASEAN member states.”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said yesterday that the schedule for the meeting between the two Prime Ministers “is unchanged”.

“But maybe there will not be enough time for the two leaders to discuss some issues,” he said.

He said the two premiers are also scheduled to meet at the upcoming Asia-Europe meeting in Belgium in October, as well as at the ASEAN leaders meeting in Vietnam later that month, and during the Ayeyarwaddy-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy meeting in Cambodia in November.

The border dispute between the neighbouring countries has simmered since July 2008, when Preah Vihear temple was inscribed on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites.

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