Monday, September 26, 2011

Surapong praises Cambodian relations

Sept 26, 2011
Bangkok Post

NEW YORK : Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul has assured United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that relations between Thailand and Cambodia will improve under the new Thai government.

Mr Surapong said he had told Mr Ban that relations between Bangkok and Phnom Penh were returning to normal after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's official visit to Phnom Penh on Sept 15.

Ms Yingluck received a warm welcome from her Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen, he said.

Mr Surapong yesterday met Mr Ban at the Thai-UN bilateral talks on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Ties between Thailand and Cambodia soured after the Democrats took the helm of the government nearly three years ago.

And earlier this year, Thai-Cambodian border skirmishes took place and claimed several soldiers' lives from both sides. Phnom Penh eventually called for the UN to act as a mediator to end the conflict.

Eventually,, the UN assigned Indonesia, this year's chair of Asean, to mediate the problem.

In April, Cambodia asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to rule on the interpretation of the 1962 judgement concerning Preah Vihear temple and a 4.6 -square-kilometre vicinity around the area.

In July, the ICJ issued provisional measures ordering both countries to withdraw their military personnel from a proposed demilitarised zone around Preah Vihear and refrain from any armed activities directed at that zone.

Mr Surapong said he also told Mr Ban the two countries would adhere to the ICJ' s future rulings on map interpretation and would abide by the ICJ's order on the provisional measure issued in late July.

He said he was optimistic that Thai-Cambodian relations would not deteriorate after the ICJ's ruling, which is expected next year.

Mr Surapong said he had invited Mr Ban to visit Thailand before the Asean Summit meeting in Bali in the middle of November.

In other news, Mr Surapong said Ms Yingluck was preparing to visit Beijing late next month where she was expected to sign the Joint Action Plan 2012-2016 to review China's and Thailand's joint economic development goals.

Thailand was also ready to hold a second informal joint cabinet meeting with Hanoi, an event that has not been held for seven years, he said.

Thailand was also ready to host the tripartite meeting of the Director-General of Legal and Treaties Affairs between Bangkok, Hanoi and Kuala Lumpur about the overlapping zone in the Gulf of Thailand, he said.

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