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Cambodia Looks for Oil Talks With Thailand

Cambodian officials are preparing for eventual discussions with their Thai counterparts to ensure mutual benefits for both countries from the marine resources they share—especially offshore oil reserves.

Cambodia signed a memorandum with Thailand in 2001 to find a solution to disputes in overlapping areas in the Gulf of Thailand, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An said at a workshop in Phnom Penh Tuesday. Now was the time to implement those agreements, he said.

"Sooner or later when the Kingdom of Thailand will have an elected government," he said. "We will continue talks, because we think both Thailand and we will benefit from oil and gas for use, because the value is billions of dollars. The oil and gas will not be left lying under the sea for nothing."

Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay said decisions over oil, gas and other resources should not be made covertly.

Heav Veasna, executive director of the Coalition for Transparency, said oil on Cambodia's soil should be for Cambodia, and that the disputed areas should be divided in two.

"Then we will be able to analyze data involving the revenue from the oil," he said.