Thailand to revive revoked MoU with Cambodia


BANGKOK, Dec 30 – The Thai government is considering reviving the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the kingdom’s maritime border signed with Cambodia in 2001 but which was revoked by the previous government, according to Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul.

Speaking to the media at Suvarnabhumi Airport upon returning from his official two-day visit to Cambodia, Mr Surapong said the government is considering revoking the cabinet resolution which terminated the MoU on overlapping maritime boundaries in the Gulf of Thailand signed with Cambodia in 2001.

When the MoU is revived, the government could go ahead on negotiations under the framework of MoU, he said.

The MoU was signed by then foreign minister Surakiart Sathirathai and Cambodia’s deputy prime minister Sok An on June 14, 2001, under the Thaksin Shinawatra-led administration.

The agreement enables Thailand and Cambodia, which share 26,000 square kilometres of the overlapping maritime area, to jointly develop oil and gas projects.

The Abhisit Vejjajiva administration on Nov 10, 2009 approved the foreign ministry’s proposal to revoke the 2001 MoU on overlapping maritime boundaries.

The decision followed Cambodia’s appointment of Thailand’s fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra as an economic adviser to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thailand feared the appointment could affect negotiations on joint development of overlapping maritime claims of some 26,000 square kilometres believed to be rich in oil and gas.

Mr Surapong said that during the two-day visit to Cambodia, he also met with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and agreed to open an Aranyaprathet-Stung Bath border checkpoint near the Poi Pet checkpoint in Banteay Meanchey province as soon as possible to boost trade and tourism between the two nations.

He said Thailand and Cambodia also agreed to hold the next Joint Commission on the Bilateral Cooperation between Thailand and Cambodia (JC) Feb 29- March 1, 2012 in Chiang Mai.

Meanwhile, the Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Commission (JBC) will meet in Feb 2012. The date and venue will be announced later.