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Soccer match heals wounds,Hun (a)Nal declares Thai-Cambodian ‘NIGHTMARE’ over ..the sucker match


COME ON, YOU REDS: Prime Minister Hun Sen poses for a group photo with Pheu Thai MPs and Cambodian officials at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh during a friendly football match held there yesterday. To his right are Pheu Thai MPs and leaders Jatuporn Prompan and Natthawut Saikua.Where's Mr.Rough Stuff Kith Meng,the robber?ស្វាលេខ១២?

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that “the nightmare era” between Thailand and Cambodia was over as he led his side to a 10-7 victory in a friendly football match involving Thai and Cambodian officials aimed at showcasing the neighbours’ improving relations.

“Today is a historic event in the relations between Cambodia and Thailand.” Hun Sen said in his pre-match speech yesterday.

The friendly football match was cheered by a 50,000-strong crowd, including thousands of Thai red shirts.

Both teams were a mix of Thai and Cambodian politicians. The Red Peace team was led by Hun Sen, while Cambodian House, in blue, was led by former Thai premier Somchai Wongsawat.

Before the kick-off, Wilaiwan Somkwamkid, mother of jailed activist Veera Somkwamkid, met United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) leader Tida Tawornseth and Pheu Thai list MP Weng Tojirakarn in Phnom Penh. Mrs Wilaiwan asked them to help negotiate with Hun Sen to release her son and his secretary Ratree Pipatanapaiboon, who are both held in Phnom Penh for espionage offences.

Veera had written to the Cambodian government, vowing to quit political activities after his release, she said.

Mrs Wilaiwan said she hoped the Thai and Cambodian governments would finalise a prisoner exchange programme soon.

Hun Sen proposed the programme during informal talks with Defence Minister Yutthasak Sasiprapa in Phnom Penh on Friday.

Former foreign minister Kasit Piromya said Hun Sen should not think that he could benefit from close ties with ousted former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra and the ruling Pheu Thai Party.

“Don’t think that you will get at our natural resources and territory by be-friending or playing football with the Pheu Thai MPs,” Mr Kasit said.

“There are millions of Thais who will not allow the government to give away national assets to Cambodia.”

Meanwhile, Democrat spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut yesterday criticised Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul’s dismissal of Asda Jayanama as head of the Thai-Cambodian Joint Commission on Land Demarcation. He also disagreed with the dismissal of Virachai Plasai, Thailand’s ambassador to the Hague, an adviser to the Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Commission.

Mr Asda will be replaced by retired ambassador to India Bundit Sottiplarit.

Mr Asda and Mr Virachai had been appointed to handle Thai-Cambodian issues when the Democrats took power in 2008.

Mr Chavanond said the two had been strong and knowledgeable advocates for the Thai side in the dispute over the 4.6 square kilometre disputed zone around Preah Vihear Temple.

“I wonder if the two diplomats were removed to make it easier for [the Pheu Thai government] to achieve agreements with Cambodia,” he said.

Mr Surapong yesterday defended his decision to dismiss Mr Asda, saying the diplomat had made no significant progress on land demarcation between Thailand and Cambodia.

He said Cambodia wanted to see land demarcation between the two countries completed within the Yingluck government’s term.

“I believe the new committee members will perform better than the past committee,” Mr Surapong said.

The minister insisted he had the right to choose to replace Mr Asda and Mr Asda should give other people a chance to do the job.

Mr Asda said on Friday that he was informed about his dismissal on Sept 13, but was not given a reason.


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