Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Thailand, Cambodia To Speed Up Single Visa Scheme

BANGKOK, Aug 5 (Bernama)-- Thailand and Cambodia on Wednesday agreed to speed up a single visa plan under the Ayeyawaddy-Mekong-Chao Phraya Economic Cooperation (ACMECS) grouping to boost tourism between the two neighbours, Thai News Agency (TNA) reported.

Thailand's Minister of Foreign Affairs Kasit Piromya leading the Thai delegation and his Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhong met in the 6th Meeting of the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation between Thailand and Cambodia (JC) held here on Wednesday.

The ministers told a joint news conference that their countries agreed to hasten the ACMECS Single Visa plan so that foreign visitors with a visa to either country can travel in both without having to apply for another entry visa.

The single visa is aimed at boosting tourism in both countries.

The ACMECS had since 2003 grouped Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam to use their varied strengths to promote balanced development in the sub-region.

Hor Namhong said that the meeting also considered opening a new permanent border crossing between Thailand's Sa Keao and Cambodia's Banteay Meanchey provinces.

The Cambodian minister said the new crossing will ease transport of agricultural produce between the countries.

For the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations next year, he said the countries will sign an agreement on visa exemptions for holders of ordinary passports.

The Cambodian foreign minister said the agreement will facilitate travel within the two kingdoms by their citizens, and help promote a better understanding and relationship.

The ministers also inked a pact on transferring sentenced persons and co-operation in enforcing prison sentences, an agreement which is aimed at boosting cooperation and improved law enforcement and judicial administration in both countries, as well as to benefit prisoners on humanitarian grounds.

Regarding the border clash between Thailand and Cambodia after last year's listing of the Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site by the United Nations, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), both countries agreed to solve the conflict at the Joint Border Commission (JBC).

The Joint Technical Committee will also speed up the negotiations over the overlapping maritime area, as earlier agreed by their leaders.

The Thai minister said the joint commission meeting also agreed to resolve the landmine problem along the shared border as soon as possible.

"After the development of Highway Route 68 connecting Kralanh with the town of O'Smach near the Thai border, trades and investment between Thailand and Cambodia will be carried out with convenience and more safety," Kasit said.

The Thai Cabinet earlier approved a Bt1.4 billion (US$41.2 million) soft loan to Cambodia for upgrading its Highway Route 68 under a 30-year contract.


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