Prime Ministers of Thailand and Cambodia meet in New York on the sidelines of the ASEAN-US Summit; Malaysia and Brunei to strengthen bilateral relations further
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  • Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen met on September 25 following the ASEAN-US summit hosted by US President Barack Obama. The meeting of the two Prime Ministers was significant as the bilateral relations between the two states are currently going through a turbulent phase over the Phreah Vihear dispute. During the meeting, while emphasizing on working out strategies though existing mechanisms (e.g., increased people to people exchange-media, academics and civil groups) to strengthen their relationship, both the leaders agreed that there would be no movement/deployment of forces on the borders. Noting that swift containment or resolution of conflicts on the border was necessary, the leaders also agreed to continue exchanging information and keeping communication channels open and meet at various venues of ASEAN leaders’ meeting on a regular basis.1

    During the 14th Annual Leaders’ Consultation between Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and the Sultan of Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah held at Seri Perdana (Malaysia) on September 21, both the countries emphasized on the tremendous potentiality in strengthening the bilateral ties beyond the Commercial Arrangement Area (CAA) as well as concerning the states of Sabah and Sarawak. Their joint statement also mentioned about the possibility of the neighbouring states’ joining hands with a third country to explore and exploit oil and gas, and cooperate in the development of down stream industries. While taking note of the progress of the of discussions of the Joint Malaysia-Brunei Darussalam Land Boundary Technical Committee, the two leaders urged the committee to conclude Terms of Reference and MoU on the Joint Demarcation and Survey of the Land Boundary by the end of 2010. The two leaders agreed on several other matters as well, including the intensification of bilateral discussion on ways and measures to enhance cross-border trade and flow of goods between the two states, etc. and looked forward to the launching of the Frequent Travelers’ Facility (FTF) which is expected to facilitate people-to-people contact between the two countries.2