Sunday, October 25, 2009
The Straits Times
Publication Date: 25-10-2009
(Posted by CAAI News Media)
Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya yesterday downplayed tension between Cambodia and Thailand, saying discussions with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Asean Summit had been 'civil' and 'we will not allow any incident to be a hindrance to the overall relationship'.
Just hours earlier, the right-wing People's Alliance for Democracy said Hun Sen was not welcome in Thailand and demanded that Cambodian troops be withdrawn from a disputed area at the Preah Vihear temple on the border between the two countries.
Briefing reporters on the day's proceedings at the summit, Kasit said Cambodia and Thailand continue to have 'dialogue and cooperation'.
He said Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and the Cambodian Premier had pledged earlier this year that no incident would be allowed to damage the relationship. On Friday, Abhisit had rebuked Hun Sen for insisting that ousted Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra was welcome in Cambodia.
Hun Sen had also said he would make Thaksin his economic adviser, and compared the fugitive billionaire to Myanmar's pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi - a parallel that visibly irked Abhisit.
Thaksin, who became prime minister in 2001, was removed in a military coup in September 2006, and was accused of corruption, cronyism and disrespect for Thailand's revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He has fled overseas to dodge a jail sentence.
Meanwhile, in another bilateral meeting on the summit sidelines, India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao agreed to 'gradually narrow differences on border issues between the two countries', China's Xinhua news agency reported. Mr Singh said 'neither side should let our differences act as impediment to the growth of functional cooperation between the two countries', according to a statement on the website of India's Ministry of External Affairs.