Thursday, 30 September 2010

Cambodian leader says meeting with Thai PM restored bilateral confidence

via CAAI

By Sopheng Cheang (CP)

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wednesday his country's relationship with Thailand has improved after he met his counterpart last week.

Hun Sen said the 40-minute meeting in New York with Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva restored confidence and co-operation between the two countries, which have been feuding over disputed border territory and other issues. The two leaders were attending the U.N. General Assembly meeting.

Relations took a turn for the worse last year, with both countries withdrawing their ambassadors, after Hun Sen made former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra an official adviser and hosted him like a VIP.

Thaksin, ousted by a 2006 military coup, is a fugitive from Thai justice, sentenced in absentia to two years in jail after being convicted of a conflict of interest charge in 2008. Hun Sen said Thaksin had been unfairly convicted for political reasons.

The envoys resumed their posts last month after Thaksin quit his appointment, citing time constraints.

Cambodia's relations with Thailand have been contentious for years, with the focus mostly on a border dispute. They have had a series of small but sometimes deadly skirmishes over the demarcation of their border near the 11th century Preah Vihear temple.

Relations worsened after Abhisit, a political opponent of Thaksin, became prime minister in December 2008.

Hun Sen described his meeting with Abhisit as "very vital" to ensuring confidence and increasing co-operation.

"I can say that the meeting was very fruitful for resolving differences," he said on the sidelines of a school graduation ceremony.

Hun Sen said he and Abhisit discussed a wide range of issues, including the border dispute, frontier security, trade and drug trafficking.

The two leaders also agreed to try to resolve all differences by peaceful means, he said.

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