Saturday, 5 February 2011

Kasit vows to free Veera

via CAAI

Published: 4/02/2011
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA : Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya says he will come up with a way to have two high-profile Thai detainees released from a Phnom Penh prison when he meets today with his Cambodian counterpart.

Mr Kasit and Hor Namhong will meet at a Joint Boundary Commission meeting being held to discuss problems resulting from a memorandum of understanding signed in 2000 on land surveying and border demarcation, which states that the two countries will not construct anything in disputed areas.

Mr Kasit will visit Thai Patriots Network coordinator Veera Somkhwamkid and his secretary, Ratree Pipatanapaiboon, later in the day at Prey Sar prison.

He said the ministry's priority was to bring Mr Veera and Ms Ratree back to Thailand as soon as possible, but that would be impossible without their cooperation.

"If Mr Veera stands firm in his testimony [before the Cambodian court] that he was arrested in Thai territory, then we can't do anything but let the court procedure go on until the end," he said.

The minister said he would try to convince Mr Veera to cooperate with his Cambodian lawyer to increase the possibility of his return to Thailand.

"Mr Veera is a fighter, but he cannot fight if he is in jail," Mr Kasit said.

Permanent secretary for foreign affairs Theerakhun Niyom said Thailand and Cambodia wanted to speed up the Joint Boundary Commission meeting as it was a framework to discuss border problems.

"Both sides hope the JBC can resume talks as soon as possible," he said.

"The delay has been caused by the Thai parliamentary process in considering three JBC memos [the one signed in 2000, one in 2008 and another last year] and Cambodia understands this."

A joint parliamentary committee is screening the three memos. It asked parliament president Chai Chidchob in November last year for another 90 days to study the agreements, claiming they did not contain enough detail.

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