Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thai border negotiator steps down

Thai border negotiator steps down

Thai border negotiator steps down

THAILAND’S top border negotiator has resigned, officials said yesterday, as long-delayed border negotiations between Thailand and Cambodia remained stalled.

Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs deputy spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said yesterday that Vasin Teeravechyan, Thailand’s chairman of the bilateral Joint Border Committee, had stepped down from his post and
that a search was underway for a successor. Vasin’s departure, he added, would not hold up the demarcation process.

“We expect that his replacement should be appointed fairly soon, so we don’t anticipate that this would cause undue delay,” Thani said.

Senior minister Var Kimhong, Cambodia’s top border negotiator, said he felt “regret” about Vasin’s resignation.

“I have worked with my counterpart Mr Vasin for many years and we have lots of experience on border issues,” Var Kimhong said. He noted that Vasin had faced steady criticism over the course of his tenure from Thailand’s ultra-nationalist Yellow Shirt movement, the members of which had threatened to protest in Bangkok next month if the Thai parliament approved the latest border agreements.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong said Vasin’s departure was an “internal affair” of Thailand.

“I think his resignation will not affect the negotiations between the two countries because they were delayed even when Mr Vasin was in power,” Koy Kuong said. “The issue is whether Thailand is willing to resolve the border dispute bilaterally with Cambodia or not, and we regret that the Thai parliament dares not approve the minutes” of the JBC, he said.

JBC talks had been stalled since April last year pending approval of the latest negotiations in the Thai parliament. This approval was delayed again earlier this month when, in lieu of a vote, Thai lawmakers set up a committee to study the negotiations and report back within 30 days.

Thani said he was unsure of when the JBC agreements might be approved.

“We’ll have to wait and see,” he said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JAMES O’TOOLE

MOST VIEWED

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • EU officials: Ending EBA an 18-month procedure

    EU officials have confirmed that it will take a total of 18 months to complete the procedure if Cambodia’s preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) trade agreement is to be withdrawn. According to EU Agriculture and Rural Development spokesman Daniel Rosario, the formal process has not

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • IPU slams government claim

    The president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Gabriela Cuevas Barron, has refuted a claim by the National Assembly that she “highly appreciated the achievements of Cambodia” in its July national elections with a tweet saying “Of course not!” before adding “No congratulations”. A delegation from