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Seminar Looks at Thai, Cambodian Relations

Buddhist monks join supporters of the yellow-shirted People's Alliance for Democracy as they listen to a speech from the stage during a rally near Government House in Bangkok January 28, 2011. Thai "yellow shirt" demonstrators returned to Bangkok's street

Scholars and researchers met in Thailand Tuesday to seek ways to improve ties between Cambodia and Thailand in the wake of deadly border clashes over the weekend.

Ahead of the seminar, “Siam-Khmer: relations of friends and foes,” held at Thammasat University in Bangkok, organizers said they wanted to look at the history of the two countries to find ways they can peacefully co-exist.

“Why are the two countries in a dispute?” asked one of the main organizers, Songkiat Kulwuthvilas, in an interview with VOA Khmer. “Why don’t Thai people like Cambodian people? And why don’t Cambodian people like Thai people? We will try to find ways where the two countries can become partners and friends again.”

Where an older generation harbors ill feelings, a new generation tends to look for partnerships in development, he said.

More than 350 people were expected to attend, with speakers to include You Ay, Cambodia’s ambassador to Thailand, and Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya.

The seminar follows heavy fighting on the border over the weekend, when Cambodian and Thai troops exchanged gun, mortar and artillery fire.