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Cambodia seeks to resume oil deal talks with Thailand on overlapping area

(Xinhua)

08:28, August 31, 2011

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- The government of Cambodia on Tuesday issued a statement announcing that Cambodia is looking forwards to resume the negotiation with Thailand on a plan for joint development of overlapping maritime claims in the Gulf of Thailand for the two countries' interests, according to a statement from the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority.

"The government of Cambodia would welcome the resumption of open and official negotiation on this issue and will pursue such a course as soon as practicable in the mutual interests of both peoples and countries," said the statement.

"Cambodia has a firm commitment to finding an equitable and transparent solution to the overlapping claims area (OCA)," it added.

The statement said that so far, the newly formed government of Thailand led by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has not yet held any meeting or raised any proposal with the government of Cambodia to resolve the OCA, let alone any proposal to settle the dispute in exchange for any private individual gains as alleged by Democrat Party Member of the House of Representatives Anik Amranand during the meeting of the National Assembly on Aug. 23-25.

Cambodia and Thailand entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding the area of their overlapping maritime claims to the continental shelf in June 2001, setting out an agreed area to be delimited and an agreed joint development area (JDA), it said.

Both countries subsequently dedicated considerable attention and resources to implementing the MoU by establishing the Joint Technical Committee (JTC) and two working groups on delimitation and joint development respectively.

The constructive discussions and negotiations between the two countries, which took place from 2001 to 2007, were extremely fruitful, giving rise to two alternate proposals for the JDA: Cambodia's break-through proposal and Thailand's three-zone proposal.

However, the official talk on the issue between the two countries was in limbo during the former Thai government under Abhisit Vejjajiva's administration.

"Even during the past few years when the JTC did not meet formally, the Abhisit government continued to engage the government of Cambodia in negotiations on the OCA on multiple occasions," said the statement.

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen and former Thai deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban and former Thai defense minister Pravit Wongsuwan held a meeting on June 27, 2009 in Cambodia's Kandal province. Behind-the-scenes discussions were also held between Suthep Thaugsuban and Cambodia's deputy Prime Minister Sok An in Hong Kong on Aug. 1, 2009 and in Kunming on July 16, 2010.

"Mr. Suthep Thaugsuban indicated a strong preference to resolve this issue during the mandate of the Abhisit government," said the statement.

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