Thais Set Hun Sen Meeting Without Asking Cambodia

Government officials said yesterday that Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva had not yet requested a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly later this month, despite Thai media reports that the meeting had already been slated.

In the latest example of miscommunication between the two neighbors, a number of Thai news organizations yesterday quoted Thai government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn as saying that the two leaders would meet privately in New York on Sept 24.

“Mr Panitan said the two prime ministers would hold informal talks over various issues without the presence of high-level officials with technical knowledge of border demarcation and others,” the Bangkok Post reported yesterday.

Despite earlier reports to the contrary, Thai media also reported that Mr Abhisit would attend the US-Asean leaders meeting, scheduled to occur in New York at the same time as the UN General Assembly.

In Phnom Penh, however, government officials were unaware of any face-to-face meeting being scheduled between Mr Hun Sen and Mr Abhisit, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong saying Thailand had not contacted Cambodia about the meeting.

“I cannot confirm the meeting because we have not received any official information on that,” he said, adding that he did not know why the Thai government had announced the meeting without consulting with Cambodia.

Last week, Cambodia and Thailand agreed to establish direct communications between two of their government ministers to prevent “misinformation” from being spread by news organizations in their respective countries.

But Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan confirmed yesterday that, not only had the government not yet received an official request for a meeting, but the first they had heard of it was through the Thai media.

“Thais sometimes use the media to leak information and seek reaction,” Mr Siphan said, adding that the government would wait for an official letter from Thailand before commenting further.

Officials at the Thai Foreign Ministry and Thai Embassy were unavailable yesterday.


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