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Friday, September 18, 2009

Cambodia, Thailand sign MOU of exchange of traffic rights for border trade

Cambodia and Thailand on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for exchange of traffic rights to boost the crossing border trade and transport facilitation between the two countries.

The MOU was signed at the end of the Second GMS Economic Corridors Forum in Phnom Penh under the support of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

"It is a bilateral agreement and also it has implemented the GMS cooperation in speeding up the trade and transport facilitation," Cham Prasidh, senior minister and minister of commerce told reporters at a press conference after the Forum.

"Both agreed to allow access of 40 trucks per day to and from both countries. The access is not only to the border area but to the whole country," he said, adding that it will promote the bilateral trade of the two neighboring countries.

Currently, Cambodia exports goods worth about 30 million U.S. dollars each year through Poi Pet border gate into Thailand and Thailand exports goods worth about 400 million U.S. dollars through that border gate into Cambodia, according to Cham Prasidh.

"We already signed such MOU with Vietnam aiming at boosting bilateral trade," he noted.

At the same time, Virachai Virameteekul, minister attached to the Thai Prime Minister's office said at the Second GMS Economic Corridors Forum that this agreement will inspire for more agreements of this kind among other GMS (Great Mekong Subregion Cooperation) member countries. "Transport facilitation is important and so is trade facilitation," he said.

In this connection, trade and custom facilitation, including harmonization of rules and regulations must be accelerated, and the involving governmental officials from both sides will work together for this trade and transport facilitation, he noted.

Source: Xinhua
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Top Turkish Newspaper Openly Writes of Armenian Genocide

In a very rare news article published by one of the top newspapers in Turkey Today's Zaman the author openly speaks about the Armenian Genocide and how they were orchestrated.

In the beginning it was total silence and denial. Then in the recent two years we started seeing phrases like "so called Armenian Genocide," "Armenian claims of genocide," and so on. In any case the word genocide was always written in quotation marks. Yet today, one of Turkey's premier newspapers Today's Zaman published a rare story about how the Armenian Genocide was organized and orchestrated by the ruling elite of the Turkish government in 1915.

Orhan Kemal Cengiz, a human rights advocate writes that the "Massacres of Armenians were orchestrated and organized by the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) -- which came to power through a military coup -- while the Ottoman Empire was falling apart. After these massacres and as a result of the lack of confrontation with our past, the CUP and its gangs changed their format and turned into the “deep state” in Turkey. These deep state elements continued their massacres and manipulations and drenched Turkey with blood during the Republican era. We have these deep state elements, but we also have many people fighting against them with or without knowing the history."

True the word genocide is not used in that paragraph. Instead Cengiz is using the phrase Massacres of Armenians. However, in the 5th paragraph he openly talks about the Armenan genocide in the following way. "I was in Toronto last year attending an extremely interesting course on genocide. For two weeks we went into all the details of different genocides that took place in various parts of the world. All lecturers gave exemplary presentations, and I felt I had really learned something. However, I also realized that there was a fundamental difference in the way in which the Armenian genocide is being handled. When we spoke about the Holocaust, we spoke of the Nazi regime; when we discussed the genocide in Cambodia, we talked about the Khmer regime; when it came to the Armenian genocide, though, we only heard the word "Turks."

While his sincerity is most appreciated he does have a point that when the world refers of the Jewish or Cambodia national tragedies we do refer to regimes. However, we speak of the Armenian Genocide Turks are indeed pointed. But why is this?

It is the 90 years of the denial of the truth and the fear to face its own history that has made things come to this place, where a Turk is pointed when speaking of the Armenian Genocide. Why is it taking Germany only 20 years to face the Jewish Holocaust, say thank you and compensate, but when it comes to the Armenian Genocide even the past 90 years are not enough?

It is believe that if Turkey had earlier recognized the genocide and condemned it the following generations would have blamed it to the ruling regime of the time not the nation. In fact, I have heard many stories that many Turkish families have risked their lives hiding the Armenian families, their neighbors from massacres and killings in and around 1915.

A historic moment is upon us. Today the president of Armenian, meeting with the leaders of various Armenian parties and discussing the pre-signing of the Turkey Armenia normalization protocols, despite much criticism, said that "we want to show that even the nation that has fallen a victim to a genocide can be the first to offer a hand of normalization of relationship." Arming themselves with sincerity, honesty and the sense of fairness and justice the Armenian, Turkish and Azerbaijani nations should look to a new South Caucasus, building a better future for their children and themselves.

Written by Armen Hareyan
Founder of

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Thailand 'lying' over boy's death, says Cambodia

Cambodia yesterday accused Thailand of lying when it denied involvement in the death of a Cambodian teenager near the border of Thailand's northeastern Surin province.

The young Cambodian was reportedly shot and burned alive as he and other Cambodian loggers tried to escape from the Thai military into Cambodia's Oddar Meanchey province.

The Second Army Region Commander Lt. General Wiboonsak Neeparn said he had checked records of all agencies under his command and found no evidence of any shooting.

"There was no such incident in the area. I wonder why Cambodia made such a report?" the commander said.

The Thai Foreign Ministry has maintained the same stance, saying the brutal incident never happened.

Ministry spokesperson Wimon Kidchob said earlier Thai soldiers fired bullets into the air after finding eight Cambodians sneaking into Thailand to cut down trees.

The denial has angered authorities in Cambodia, both in Oddar Meanchey and in Phnom Penh.

Oddar Meanchey Governor Pich Sokhin called the Thai assertion a lie. "How could our people have been injured and killed if their soldiers shot into the air?" the governor was quoted by the Phnom Penh Post.

"Their interpretation is a lie to avoid responsibility and to hide their cruelty from the public. Our people are injured and dead. How can they say they are not responsible?"

The Cambodian Foreign Ministry has sent a diplomatic note to Bangkok asking for an explanation and is still awaiting an official reply.

Phnom Penh has urged Thailand to conduct an investigation into the case and find and punish those responsible.

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