Cambodia Says No Plans to Grant Oil Concessions in Disputed Area

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong has given assurances Phnom Penh has no plans to grant petroleum concessions to private companies in a maritime zone disputed with Thailand.

Hor Namhong's assurance yesterday came amid media reports that Cambodia had given Total, a French firm, a concession to explore for oil in a 27,000 sq km area claimed by the two countries.

The deputy prime minister, who met with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva at Government House yesterday, made it clear Phnom Penh's position was not to disturb the disputed maritime area claimed by both countries in the Gulf of Thailand, said acting government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn.

The Cambodian foreign minister will lead his delegation in talks with his Thai counterpart, Kasit Piromya, and Thai officials at the Thai-Cambodian Joint Commission meeting today. Panitan quoted Hor Namhong as saying the Cambodian government was looking forward to solving the dispute over the overlapping maritime zone through all existing mechanisms.

Abhisit and the Cambodian deputy prime minister also discussed future cooperation between the two countries.

The cabinet recently approved a loan of 1.4 billion baht for Phnom Penh to improve a road linking Samrong with O'Smach, near Thailand's Aranyaprathet district in Sa Kaeo province.

The Thaksin Shinawatra government earlier helped Phnom Penh improve a road linking Koh Kong with Sre Ambel, near Thailand's Klong Yai district in Trat province.

BBC Monitoring. Copyright BBC.


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