>Cambodian PM congratulates Somchai on appointment as Thai PM

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BANGKOK, Sept 20 (TNA) — Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday sent a congratulatory message to Somchai Wongsawat on his appointment as Thailand’s new prime minister, saying that he hoped that the two neighbouring countries “will soon be able to peacefully and legally settle all the current border issues”.

Premier Hun Sen said in the message that he hoped the border problem could be solved “in the spirit of friendship and good neighbourliness”.

“I look forward to working closely with Your Excellency to further promote the existing excellent bonds of amity and fruitful cooperation between Cambodia and Thailand for the mutual interests of both our peoples and for a stronger ASEAN family,” the message said.

Mr. Somchai was royally appointed as Thailand’s 26th prime minister on Thursday.

The two countries are now locked in a border dispute at several sites along their border due to poor demarcation dating from the time that Cambodia was occupied by French colonial forces, and Cambodia uses French maps demarcating the border, which Thailand claims favours Cambodia.

Thailand, however, relies on a newer map drawn up with American technical assistance in the post-colonial period.

According to the Thai foreign ministry, Mr. Hun Sen also telephoned Mr. Somchai on Thursday hours after his royal appointment as prime minister took place.

Both parties recalled their earlier meeting on May 14 this year during the opening ceremony of Route 48, a road in Cambodia, at a time when Mr. Somchai was Thailand’s deputy prime minister and education minister.

The two prime ministers emphasised the willingness of both governments to address outstanding issues between the neighbours by using existing bilateral mechanisms to further strengthen the friendly relations between their two countries whose histories and destinies have been linked from time immemorial. (TNA)

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