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Thailand Ready to Return Diplomat to Cambodia - 2003-02-06


Thailand says it is ready to send a diplomat to Cambodia, as the two countries work to repair relations damaged by last week's anti-Thai riots in Phnom Penh.

Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra says Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen urged him by phone to re-establish at least a token diplomatic presence in the Cambodian capital. Mr. Thaksin says the diplomat will be guarded by Thai commandos and Mr. Hun Sen's security staff.

Mr. Thaksin also says Thailand is considering re-opening border trade with Cambodia. Thailand closed its border with Cambodia following last week's riots.

Thailand downgraded diplomatic ties after hundreds of people rioted in Phnom Penh, burning the Thai embassy and destroying several Thai-owned businesses. The rioting was sparked by reports in the Cambodian media that a Thai actress said the historic Angkor Wat temple complex belonged to Thailand. She denied making the statement.

Tuesday, Cambodia's foreign minister (Hor Namhong) delivered a letter of apology from Prime Minister Hun Sen to Mr. Thaksin.

Cambodia has also agreed to compensate Thailand for the damage caused to Thai property and businesses in the riots.

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