Deal Boosts Border Crossings With Thailand To Increase Border Crossing

A bilateral agreement to open more border crossings between Cambodia and Thailand will boost agricultural trade for farmers in remote regions near the Thai border, a government official said Sunday.

The agreement, which was made between Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Thai counterpart, Thaksin Shinawatra, last week, will allow a greater number of Cambo­dians to sell their produce in Thailand, government spokes­man Khieu Kanharith said. “They do not have road access to transport their products to Phnom Penh. It is good they can sell those products to Thailand.”

Khieu Kanharith said the deal will also give Cambodians greater access to Thai hospitals, the opportunity to find employment in Thailand and will increase tourism from Laos and Thailand.

But, Khieu Kanharith warned, due to heightened cross-border traffic, crime and terrorist activity will become a greater concern.

The agreement, signed during last week’s summit meeting on economic cooperation in Bagan, Burma, calls for the opening of three new points of entry between Thailand and Cambodia.

These include border-crossing posts at Ban Pakkard, in Thai­land’s Chanthaburi province with Pailin municipality; Ban Laem, Chan­thaburi province, with Kam­rieng district, Battambang prov­ince; and Sa Ngam, Sisaket prov­ince, with Anlong Veng district, Oddar Meanchey province.

Under the agreement, hours of operation at all points of entry will be extended by three hours to 7 am to 8 pm. The agreement also includes a trial arrangement that will also allow some Cam­bodians in Ban­teay Mean­­chey province and some Thais in Sa­kaew prov­ince to travel in each other’s prov­inces with a seven-day-stay permit.

“The above agreements represent positive and concrete steps in bi­lateral cooperation,” according to a Nov 12 statement outlining the cooperation. Relations be­tween the two states were dashed by the Jan 29 anti-Thai riots.

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