Thursday, 3 February 2011

Thai FM to visit Cambodia to help two Thai activists

via CAAI

BANGKOK, Feb 2 – Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya goes to Phnom Penh Thursday to hold talks with his Cambodian counterpart on two Thai activists sentenced by a Cambodian court and border issues, Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongpakdi said on Wednesday.

“Foreign Minister Kasit will visit Cambodia to hold talks with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong to discuss help for the two Thais and [solutions to the] border disputes,” Mr Thani said.

Two Thai activists, Veera Somkwamkid and Ratree Pipattanapaiboon, his secretary were found guilty of espionage, illegal entry and trespassing in a military zone.

A Cambodian court on Tuesday handed down an eight-year jail term and a 1.8 million riel (US$450) fine for Veera Somkwamkid, a key activist of a Thai nationalist movement and a six-year jail term and a 1.2 million riel (US$300) fine for his secretary.

Legal advisers of the two activists were prepared to appeal the ruling. The foreign ministry respected their decision and was ready to assist them, the ministry spokesman said.

Regarding the Cambodian foreign ministry's statement stating that Cambodia will neither dismantle Wat Kaew Sikha Khiri Sawara nor remove the Cambodian national flag flying over the temple as demanded by the Thai foreign ministry on Monday, the ministry’s spokesman said Thailand will not issue a daily ‘tit-for-tat’ statement.

The ministry however will study facts and settle the problem through negotiations to create better understanding with Cambodia and to find a solution to the problem, he said.

The temple is located on 4.6-kiliomtre-square disputed area, claimed by both countries. Cambodia last month demolished two stone tablets erected at the temple, accusing Thai troops of invading Cambodian territory following a request by Thailand and asserting that the area belongs to Cambodia. (MCOT online news)

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