Defence minister preps for talks with Cambodia
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Defence minister preps for talks with Cambodia

The Ministry of Defence is formulating proposals for talks with Cambodia, aimed at promoting border peace and solving issues related to overlapping border areas between the two nations.

Speaking about Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet's official visit to Thailand on Wednesday, Defence Minister Sutin Klungsang said the ministry can support the government policy to bolster economic activities along the Thai-Cambodian border.

He said the government wants to foster ties with Cambodia and improve people's livelihood -- and the military has a role to play in reducing border tensions.

He said the ministry entered an agreement with Cambodia over how to promote peace along the border during his recent visit to Cambodia, and he will bring such proposals to the Thai and Cambodian prime ministers when they meet in Bangkok this week.

The pair are likely to discuss overlapping border claims. Mr Sutin said the issue is being handled by the General Border Committee (GBC) chaired by the defence ministers of both nations.

He said Thailand will do its best to settle border disputes and avoid issues that could reignite tension. Asked if talks would follow the framework set by a 2001 memorandum of understanding, he said the government would abide by joint agreements, but declined to discuss the specifics. A Thailand-Cambodia Joint Technical Committee negotiates disputes and joint development. Its work could also be dscussed.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said yesterday joint efforts to tackle fine dust pollution would be discussed during the meeting with his Cambodian counterpart.

He said the government was ready to extend support to Cambodia in combating haze pollution and the neighbouring country is taking the issue seriously.

On Friday, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Jakkapong Sangmanee had a phone conversation with Cambodian Environment Minister Eang Sophalleth discussing joint efforts to tackle the smog problem, a source said.

According to the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (Gistda), as of 7am yesterday, six northern provinces were experiencing red-coded (seriously harmful) levels of fine dust.

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