Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hun Sen urges Thais to speed Road 68 funds

PRIME Minister Hun Sen has urged Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to speed up an agreement to fund the reconstruction of National Road 68 connecting Siem Reap with the town of O'Smach near the Thai border.

During the inauguration of National Road 67 in Siem Reap Saturday, Hun Sen said Thai Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban should remind Abhisit to speed up Thai financial assistance for the project.

"Ministers from both countries have already discussed it with each other. Suthep should explain to Abhisit that the project is moving forward and should urge him to sign an agreement as soon as possible," Hun Sen said. Suthep attended Saturday's inauguration ceremony.

Hun Sen said he spoke with Abhisit about the project to rebuild the national highway, which runs from O'Smach in Oddar Meanchey province to Kralanh in Siem Reap province, during the 14th ASEAN summit in Pattaya in April and again on June 12 during Abhisit's state visit to Cambodia. He said the rebuilt road, expected to cost an estimated US$41 million, would benefit both countries.

"In order to see the importance of the cooperation... bilateral trade between the two countries in 2008 was worth $1.7 billion," he said.

"This point shows the importance of the road ... [which will] make trade between the two countries easier."

He said all outstanding disagreements between the countries had to be resolved through peaceful negotiations, adding that he hoped the border situation would remain stable.

Thai roads
Tram Iv Tek, minister of Public Works and Transport, said National Road 67, spanning 131 kilometres between Anlong Veng and Siem Reap, had a price tag of $38 million, a sum loaned by the Thai government.

Another Thai-funded highway, the 150-kilometre-long National Road 48 from Koh Kong to Sre Ambel in Koh Kong province, was officially inaugurated for public use last year.

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