Thailand names career diplomat as foreign minister

The first job for new Thai FM, is to seek a solution to the dispute over a 900-year-old Hindu temple with his Cambodian counterpart, Hor Namhong, in the Cambodian tourist town of Siem Reap on Monday.

Thailand names career diplomat as foreign minister

Retired diplomat Tej Bunnag has been appointed Thailand's new foreign minister, two weeks after his predecessor resigned over a land dispute with Cambodia, a government spokesman said on Saturday.

"Mr Tej Bunnag was appointed as the new foreign minister and he will be granted with His Majesty the King to be sworn in tomorrow," government spokesman Vichienchot Sukchokrat told Reuters.

The first job for Tej, a 64-year-old, Oxford-trained historian, is to seek a solution to the dispute over a 900-year-old Hindu temple with his Cambodian counterpart, Hor Namhong, in the Cambodian tourist town of Siem Reap on Monday.

The row sparked fears of a military clash after both countries sent troops to the border where the temple stands.

Thai Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama quit on July 10 when government opponents seized on the land dispute.

Groups trying to oust the government have whipped up nationalist fervour over the temple, which many Thais believe belongs to Thailand. They accused Noppadon of selling out the country's heritage by backing Cambodia's successful bid to have it listed as a World Heritage site.

Tej, who has served as Thai ambassador to Washington and Paris, has more recently chaired a Thai-Cambodian body to promote cultural ties and served as an adviser to revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Reuters

Last Mod: 26 Temmuz 2008, 14:16
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