Monday, August 23, 2010

Thaksin quits as Phnom Penh's economic adviser

Cambodia and Thailand decide to reinstate their ambassadors
Thailand's bilateral ties with Cambodia appear to have returned to normal as it decided to reinstate its ambassador now that former PM Thaksin Shinawatra has resigned as economic adviser to Phnom Penh.

However, Thaksin's reasons were not altruistic - he said he could not do his duties properly because he had a lot of business to attend to overseas.

Appointed by King Norodom Sihamoni last October, Thaksin's post was at the core of the conflict between the two countries, which were already having disputes over the controversial Preah Vihear Temple.

Thailand regarded this appointment as an insult to its judicial system, because Thaksin was refusing to come home to serve his jail sentence over corruption. Things became worse when the fugitive visited Phnom Penh in his capacity as economic adviser last November, and Cambodia rejected Thailand's request to have him extradited.

In response, Bangkok downgraded its bilateral diplomatic relations, scrapped its maritime deal and dropped plans to fund the construction of a road from the Thai border to Cambodia's Siem Reap province.

In retaliation, Cambodia arrested a Thai engineer and expelled a Thai diplomat over charges of spying on Thaksin's flight plan.
Thaksin's resignation would pave the way for the two countries to restore relations.

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