Monday, 5 April 2010

Cambodia shows willingness to restore ties: Thai PM

via CAAI News Media

HUA HIN, April 5 (TNA) - Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Monday said Cambodia has sent positive signs that could lead to normalised relations between the two neighbouring countries.

Mr Abhisit said Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban was assured by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen that he would not allow fugutive ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to use Cambodia to launch political attacks against the Thai government.

Thai and Cambodian leaders met during the first Mekong River Commission (MRC) Summit between April 4 and 5 in Thailand's seaside resort of Hua Hin, southwest of Bangkok.

Mr Abhisit said due to the Cambodian leader's positive gesture, the return of the Thai ambassador to Phnom Penh would be discussed between officials of the two countries and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would be the main agency in this matter.

However, the Thai prime minister declined to comment on Mr Hun Sen's reversed position, saying only that the responsibility of a national leader is to benefit his people.

Mr Suthep on Sunday said after meeting wiith Mr Hun Sen that the Cambodian premier had assured him he would not allow former Thai prime ministerThaksin to enter Cambodia and use it as a base to launch political attacks against Thailand.

He also assured Mr Suthep during the 40-minute discussion that he would not let his personal relations with Mr Thaksin affect bilateral relations with Thailand.

Mr Hun Sen has been at loggerheads with the Thai government, especially with his Thai counterpart Abhisit, after his government appointed Mr Thaksin as its economic adviser late last year and refused to extradite him to Thailand.

Mr Thaksin, ousted in a bloodless coup in September 2006, was sentenced by Thailand’s Supreme Court Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions to a two-year prison term in absentia for having a conflict of interest in Bangkok’s Ratchadaphisek land purchase case.

Tensions between the neighbouring countries flared after the United Nations cultural body UNESCO approved Cambodia's bid in July last year to list the 11th century Preah Vihear temple as a world heritage site, while the question of sovereignty over the 4.6 square kilometres of surrounding land has never been clearly resolved.

The two neighbouring countries however reiterated to solve the border conflicts peacefully through the Joint Boundary Committee, while there were some clashes between the soldiers of two countries along the border.

The situation deteriorated when the Cambodian government appointed the convicted ex-Thai premier as its economic adviser and announced that it will not extradite Mr Thaksin if requested by Thailand.

Thailand carried out its first retaliatory move against Cambodia by recalling its ambassador to Phnom Penh in November last year and reviewing cooperation with Cambodia.

The Cambodian government however ignored Thailand's stance, and recalled its ambassador to Bangkok as a reciprocal action. (TNA)

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