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Cambodia Welcomes Renewed Thai Talks

Cambodian officials say they remain optimistic of a positive result in border negotiations with Thailand, following approval of the Thai parliament for talks between the two countries’ border committees.

Thai lawmakers approved negotiations over the disputed border at the root of a months-long military standoff across several provinces.

Approval of negotiations, a requirement under Thai law, will pave the way for talks scheduled Nov. 10 between the Joint Boundary Commission and Cambodia, the Bangkok Post reported Wednesday.

“It is a good signal that the Thais approved the Joint Boundary Commission negotiations,” said Koy Koung, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The parliamentary approval will provide a good chance for the two sides to further their discussions, he said.

The green light for negotiation follows an escalation of the standoff that ended in deadly violence earlier this month and talks last week that were limited.

Var Kimhong, head of the National Committee for the Resolution of Border Disputes, declined to comment Wednesday.

“With the Thai side, we should be careful,” he said.

However, Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, welcomed the go-ahead, which “shows commitment to solve the border dispute between two sides.”

He confirmed two sides would meet Nov. 10.

Several rounds of bilateral talks between the countries have failed to bring a full withdrawal of troops from their positions on the border. The military standoff began July 15, when Thai troops occupied a pagoda near Preah Vihear temple, on land claimed by both sides.