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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cambodia Calls for Talks with Thailand on Disputed Oil and Gas Zone

- Cambodia Calls for Talks with Thailand on Disputed Oil and Gas Zone

Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa)

Cambodia called Tuesday for the newly elected Thai government to resume talks on resolving claims to a 27,000-square-kilometer stretch of seabed considered rich in oil and gas.

The Cambodian National Petroleum Authority, a government body, said it had "a firm commitment to finding an equitable and transparent resolution to the overlapping claims area."

"The [government] would welcome the resumption of open and official negotiation on this issue and will pursue such a course as soon as practicable," it said.

The statement marked the second time in little more than a month that Cambodia has sought to restart the talks.

The authority said discussions held from 2001 to 2007 had been "fruitful," adding that the government of Abhisit Vejjajiva, which took power in 2008 and had rocky relations with Phnom Penh, had sought to resolve the dispute prior to this year's election.

To that end, it said, Bangkok and Phnom Penh had held secret talks to try to reach a deal.

A number of major oil companies have signed exploration deals with Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand, including the US firm Chevron Corp and France's Total SA.

In 2001, the two nations signed an agreement that outlined their joint management of resources in the disputed zone, but the details have yet to be worked out.

Cambodia hopes to reap a windfall from oil and gas revenues that could transform the impoverished nation.

Copyright 2011 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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