Siam ministers of foreign affairs, energy start visit to Cambodia…Sok An’s CNPA cashing out
PHNOM PENH, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) — Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul and Energy Minister Pichai Naripthaphan arrived here on Thursday morning on a two-day official visit to strengthen bilateral ties.
Surapong will hold talks with Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong, minister of foreign affairs. Meanwhile, he would raise the plight of two Thai activists jailed in Phnom Penh for discussion and would ask Cambodia to consider releasing them, the Bangkok Post-online reported on Thursday.
The two “Yellow Shirt” Thais are Veera Somkwamkid, one of the leaders of the People’s Network against Corruption and a high- profile activist in the Thailand Patriot Network, and his secretary Ratree Pipatanapaiboon.
The Phnom Penh Municipal Court of First Instance, on February 1, convicted Veera and Ratree of illegal entry, unlawful entry into military base and espionage and sentenced them to 8 years and 6 years in jail respectively.
For Pichai, during the stay, he is scheduled to have a discussion with Sok An, minister of the Council of Ministers and chairman of the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority.
Ek Tha, spokesman of the Press Unit at the Council of Ministers, said Pichai and Sok An will re-start negotiations on the plan for the joint development of Overlapping Claim Area (OCA) in the Gulf of Thailand, which is reportedly rich in oil and gas.
Cambodia and Thailand entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding the area of their overlapping maritime claims to the continental shelf in June 2001, setting out an agreed area to be delimited and an agreed joint development area (JDA).
Since then, the two countries had subsequently held constructive discussions and negotiations until 2007 with extremely fruitful results. However, the official talk on the issue was in limbo during the former Thai government under Abhisit Vejjajiva’s administration.