PHNOM PENH - Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and others met on Monday held a meeting on border issues to be discussed with Thailand, following agreements by both sides to work toward monitoring disputed areas on the border.
Both sides saw a protracted military standoff that lasted from 2008 to 2011, following nationalistic protests on each side when the border temple of Preah Vihear was listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site under Cambodian control. There remain areas of the border disputed by both sides, which officials worry could lead to future conflicts.
Long Visalo, secretary of state for the Foreign Affairs Ministry, told reporters Monday that both sides have agreed to stand up a joint committee to monitor border activities. This will include ministers and other officials from ministries, as well as governors of border provinces. The initiative will be discussed in Thailand next month, he said.
Monday’s meeting addressed the need for identification cards to permit border crossing by Cambodians seeking temporary work in Thailand, as well as issues like mine removal on the border, border trade and plans for special economic zones in the future.
Cambodian farm goods have in the past been subject to loose policies, Long Visalo said. “Before, when they want our agricultural products, they let us go in, but when they don’t they just rapidly stop their import, and sometimes they decrease the price of the products,” he said. “We will have a discussion with Thailand on that issue,” he said.
Other border issues include stopping illegal logging, connecting the two countries with more international crossings, the purchase by Thailand of Cambodian-produced electricity and the containment of infectious diseases, he said.
A meeting between the foreign ministries of both countries will be held June 10 and June 11.