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Thai-Cambodian talks to neutralise exploration conflict

Dec 29. 2011
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By The Nation

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An called for a renewed discussion with Thailand over power generating and conflicts over overlapping petroleum exploration area, said Energy Minister Pichai Naripthaphan.


 After his meeting with the Cambodian minister today, Pichai said that Sok An wanted all conflicts cleared within a year and a half, for the mutual benefits of both countries. 

 Pichai noted that the matter is now upto the Foreign Affairs Ministry's negotiation team. He insisted that no particular person would gain benefits if the negotiation allows a joint development similar to what Thailand agreed with Malaysia or Vietnam. To lead the Thai investment is PTT Plc, which is majority owned by the government, he said.

 "During my trip to Burma, there was a criticism that former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra would benefit from the petroleum concessions granted to PTT and he insisted that he had no share in PTT Group. I'd like to say that all should be concerned about Thailand's long-term gain," the minister said.

 Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said that the Thai government also wished to quickly solve the conflict. He would soon ask for the Cabinet's endorsement if it wants to revoke the memorandum of understanding with Cambodia signed in 2001. If it stands by the Abhisit government's proposed revocation, the parliamentary approval will be sought and then a new round of negotion would begin.

 But if the Yingluck government wants to maintain the MoU, the negotiation with Cambodia on the overlapping area would be restored accordingly.

 He noted that should such negotiation lead to a joint development, it would take over 10 years to discover natural gas.

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