A Change of Guard

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Friday, 30 December 2011

[Thailand's] Surapong says Joint Border Committee talks to start in February

Thai FM Surapong Tovichakchaikul (R) met for talks with Cambodian PM Hun Sen.

By: Serath

PHNOM PENH, December 29, 2011 (Cambodia Herald) - Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said Thursday that Thailand would host a Joint Border Committee meeting in February after considerable delays under the previous government which lost power in July.

Asked by reporters why it was taking so long to demarcate the border between the two countries, Surapong said: "It's not late. Since the meeting between Prime Minister Yingluck and Prime Minister Hun Sen, we agreed to hold the JBC meeting in Thailand in February."

The Thai foreign minister hailed the recent improvement in relations between Cambodia and Thailand following its change in government, acknowledging the role played by Yingluck's older brother Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister overthrown in a coup in 2006.

"When Thaksin was in power, the relationship between Cambodia and Thailand was very good. So I can't deny accusations that Thaksin is behind this."

In addition to meeting with Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Nam Hong Thursday, Surapong paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Hun Sen.

During the courtesy call, Hun Sen expressed the view that he considered Thaksin as his "second oldest brother" after Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah as his eldest brother with himself as the youngest, Surapong said. The sultan is the longest-serving leader in Southeast Asia.

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