Monday, November 16, 2009

Local Associations and NGOs Concerned about Cambodian-Thai Relations


Five Cambodian associations conducted a joint press conference on November 13 in Phnom Penh to raise their concerns about the tensions and dropping of diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Thailand.

The press conference was jointly organized by the Cambodia-ASEAN Civil Society Organization (CACSO), the Cambodia-ASEAN Human Rights Association (CAHRA), the Social Congress Agency for Cambodia (SCAC), the Cambodia-ASEAN Youth Association (CAYA), and The League of Cambodian Students and Intellectual Coordination Committee (LECASTINCOCO), which represented a total of 48 local associations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Cambodia.

Thao Veasna, President of the Cambodia-ASEAN Human Rights Association (CAHRA), said that the main purpose of the press conference was to address the civil societies’ concerns about current situations relating to the former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s presence in Cambodia, including the recent dropping of relations between Cambodia and Thailand.

Veasna added that another objective of the press conference was to express Cambodian civil societies’ position and support of the Cambodian government, especially Prime Minister Hun Sen in appointing former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra as his Personal Advisor and in his decision not to extradite Thaksin to Thailand as requested by the Thai authorities.

“We are now very concerned about the tension and the dropping of relations and diplomacy between Cambodia and Thailand. We are afraid that if these tensions and dropping of relations continue, they will lead to the closing of the two countries’ borders or other serious problems which will affect on the bilateral cooperation, businesses and trades of the two countries in the future,” he told the press conference.

Sok Theavuth, President of the Cambodia-ASEAN Youth Association (CAYA), said that the tension and the decrease of diplomatic ties and relations between the two countries are caused by the Thai side, especially the Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his government aiming to put an end to Thaksin Shinawatra’s politics in Thailand.

Sok Theavuth condemned the Thai government and Thai yellow-shirt group for creating the tensions and breaking the good relations and friendship between the two countries. He also called on the Thai Prime Minister and Thai yellow-shirt group to respect their dignity and civilization, obey the treaties and international law, and stop creating problems against Cambodia and its citizens.

Relating to the appointment of Thaksin Shinawatra as Advisor to Prime Minister Hun Sen and Economic Advisor to the Royal Government of Cambodia and his presence in Cambodia, Theavuth said that the Cambodian civil societies strongly support the Cambodian government and Samdech Hun Sen’s decision not to extradite Thaksin.

“As the civil societies in Cambodia, we would like to welcome and strongly support the clear policies and positions of the Royal Government of Cambodia in the self-protection of the Cambodian territory and to resolve the problem through diplomacy and courage,” he said.

He added that to support the Cambodian government’s stance and decisions regarding Thaksin Shinawatra’s case in Cambodia, the group plans to submit its official joint declaration and petition to the Royal Government of Cambodia next week. ////

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