Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cambodia to lift entry visa restrictions

Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, right, and his Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhongafter signing a prisoner exchange agreement in Bangkok yesterday. (JETJARASNARANONG)

Bangkok Post

Thailand and Cambodia have agreed to waive visa requirements for each other's citizens starting next year to mark 60 years of diplomatic relations.
The agreement was reached yesterday at the Thai-Cambodian Joint Commission meeting led by Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya and Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong. The meeting was the first by the commission since talks were suspended three years ago.

The agreement to waive the visas for holders of ordinary passports is expected to be signed next year as part of activities celebrating the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries 60 years ago.

The decision leaves Burma as the only member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations requiring Thais wishing to enter the country to apply for a visa.

Hor Namhong said Thailand and Cambodia also agreed to strengthen cooperation on tourism by jointly promoting the sector under the Two Kingdoms, One Destination project and would expedite the single visa policy between the two countries.

He said the two sides would hasten the next Joint Boundary Commission meeting, chaired by former Thai ambassador to Seoul Vasin Teeravechyan and his Cambodian counterpart Var Kim Hong, and resume the Joint Technical Committee meeting on overlapping maritime claims which has been suspended since 2006.

Mr Kasit said all obstacles to border negotiations would soon be resolved.

In a joint statement, the two ministers said they would work together to identify the area bridging Sa Kaeo province and Cambodia's Banteay Meanchey province before setting up a new international checkpoint.

An Emerald Triangle meeting would be held soon to help develop human resources, Hor Namhong said.

Mr Kasit and Hor Namhong yesterday also signed an agreement that would allow some prisoners, after serving minimum periods of imprisonment, to be transferred in order to serve their remaining sentences in their own country.

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