17/05/2011
Bangkok Post

The Cambodian government has postponed a Thai trade exhibition set for Thursday due to concerns about safety after border conflicts between the two countries.

Cambodian Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh sent a letter dated May 13 to the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh to contact organisers to defer the Thailand Trade Exhibition 2011 until a "more favourable time comes", the Phnom Penh Post quoted him as saying.

The event had been set from Thursday to Sunday at the Diamond Island Convention Centre in the Cambodian capital.



The minister's decision was influenced by the Thai army's export ban on fuel and other strategic products to Cambodia from the Chong Chom checkpoint in Kap Choeng district in Surin province over fears they could be used for military purposes by Cambodia amid border tension between the two nations.

"I am of the opinion that this is not the right time to promote Thai products in Cambodia. We cannot guarantee the reaction of Cambodian visitors to such an exhibition after such bad behaviour," Cham Prasidh was quoted as saying.

More than 100 exhibitors had planned to show their products at the event.

Ties between the two countries have been strained after the border clashes in April on the disputed border in Surin and Si Sa Ket. The central issue is the overlapping area of 4.6 square kilometres near Preah Vihear Temple opposite Kantharalak district in Si Sa Ket.

Yesterday villagers in Phanom Dong Rak district in Surin prepared for evacuation and some left for other areas following rumours that Cambodian soldiers would attack Thai army positions.

An army officer said soldiers had sent a message to all villages telling villagers and border traders to calm down. They were guaranteed Thai soldiers were on alert and showed no complacency on the border situation, the officer, who requested anonymity, said.

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