Kasit Promotes Improving Bilateral Ties

Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya arrived in Phnom Penh yesterday to mark 60 years of bilateral relations between Thailand and Cambodia and pledged to do his part to help improve cooperation between the two nations.

But for one particularly thorny issue, the Thai Parliament’s long delay in considering the minutes from the past three Joint Border Committee meetings, Mr Kasit had no quick solution, confirming that any possible ratification of the minutes was still several months away.

Border negotiations between the two nations have stalled over the past year, with Cambodian officials saying a new JBC meeting cannot be held until Thailand ratifies the work of previous meetings on the demarcation of the contentious Cambodia-Thailand border.

A Thai government committee tasked with scrutinizing the records of the meetings was given an extra 90 extra days to report back to the Thai Parliament after the committee’s original deadline elapsed earlier this month.

“I think [consideration will happen] by March since now [the Parliament] is in recess,” Mr Kasit said, confirming the time frame provided to the Thai committee.

Despite the lack of movement on border talks, he said he expected Cambodia and Thailand’s relationship “to be better and better every day,” echoing the positive line taken by Prime Minister Hun Sen earlier this month.

On Dec 6, Mr Hun Sen said relations between the two nations had returned to what they were like prior to July 15, 2008, when a military border standoff began after police arrested three Thai protesters who had crossed into Cambodia.

According to Minh Kosny, secretary of state with the Ministry of Culture, 600 people attended a concert at Phnom Penh’s Chaktomuk Theater on Saturday to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Cambodian-Thai relations.

“This is the concert that enhances…the relationship between Cambodia and Thailand, which we just solved,” she said, adding that another celebratory event was held at the Thai Embassy last night.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said Mr Kasit would meet separately with Mr Hun Sen and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong today.


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