Cambodian Ambassador Arrives Back in Bangkok

Full diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Thailand were restored yesterday morning when Cambodia’s ambassador to Thailand, You Ay, returned to Bangkok to resume her role at the helm of the Cambodian Embassy, a Foreign Ministry official said.

Ms Ay’s arrival in Bangkok came less than 24-hours after Thai Ambassador Prasas Prasasvinitchai landed back in Phnom Penh to recommence his duties.

Thailand recalled Mr Prasas last November after former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was sought by Thai authorities on corruption charges, signed on as an economic adviser to the Cambodian government. In reaction, the Cambodian government ordered Ms Ay to immediately return to Phnom Penh.

According to a Thai government statement published yesterday, Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya “expressed his appreciation to the Royal Government of Cambodia for paving the way for Thai-Cambodian relations to move forward.”

Yesterday, Mr Kuong said that diplomatic relations could now be considered “normalized.” “The return of the two ambassadors back to work means Cambodia now views that diplomatic affairs between Cambodia and Thailand are back to normal,” he said.

Mr Kuong, however, said he did not believe that Mr Prasas would meet Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, or other government officials, until he had presented his credentials to King Norodom Sihamoni.

A Thai news report on Tuesday said that Mr Prasas thought it might take two weeks before he could officially resume his duties as ambassador.

“I think maybe after Mr Prasas hands over his credentials to the King, then maybe there will be a courtesy call with His Excellency Hor Namhong and possibly other Cambodian leaders,” Mr Kuong said.

Officials at the Thai Embassy were unavailable yesterday, but a statement released by the Thai government’s public relations department said that Thailand was still waiting to receive official confirmation that Mr Thaksin had resigned from his Cambodian role.

But Mr Kuong said that no such correspondence would be forthcoming, as Cambodia did not believe it was necessary to provide evidence proving that the resignation was valid. “The King himself signed off on the resignation and the government then issued a statement confirming it,” he said.

Ms Ay and other officials at the Cambodian Embassy in Bangkok were unavailable yesterday.

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