Pattaya Daily News

15 September 2011 :: 13:09:17 pm 58290

Thai PM’s first visit will mend ties

PHNOM PENH, September 15, 2011- New Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra makes her first official visit to Cambodia on Thursday aimed at shoring up relations between the neighbours after deadly border clashes.
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Yingluck will hold talks with her Cambodian counterpart, Hun Sen, expected to herald a return to cordial relations between Bangkok and Phnom Penh, officials said.

The countries have engaged in occasionally bloody clashes over a disputed area near an ancient temple, but tensions have eased since Yingluck’s July election win, backed by her brother, ousted ex-leader Thaksin Shinawatra.

“The visit will restore ties and cooperation in all fields between the two countries,” Cambodia’s foreign ministry spokesman Koy Kuong told AFP, adding that relations were “normalising”.

Yingluck’s one-day trip to Phnom Penh precedes a visit on Friday by Thaksin, who remains a controversial but highly influential figure in Thailand. The siblings are not expected to meet.

Hun Sen, who has called Thaksin an “eternal friend”, said last month that the “nightmare” of strained ties with Thailand was over and vowed to work with Bangkok to resolve the border row, which centres around a 900-year-old temple.

Under previous Thai premier Abhisit Vejjajiva the spat twice escalated into heavy arms clashes this year, prompting Phnom Penh to take the dispute to the United Nation’s highest court.

The Hague-based International Court of Justice in July asked both nations to withdraw military personnel from around the Preah Vihear temple complex. Neither side has pulled out yet, though the border has been calm.

Thailand does not dispute Cambodia’s ownership of Preah Vihear, but both sides claim a 4.6-square-kilometre (1.8-square-mile) area of adjacent land.

In February, ten people were killed in fighting at the temple site and fresh clashes broke out further west in April, leaving 18 dead.

Reporter : AFP   Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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