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Thailand, Laos to step up war on drugs   

The Nation / 27 May 2000

VIENTIANE - Thailand and Laos will set up a joint land and river patrol
along their common borders to check the flow of drugs, which threatens both
social well-being and security.


The issue was raised during a meeting between Prime Minister Chuan
Leekpai and his Laotian counterpart, Sisavath Keobounephan.
According to Deputy Prime Minister Banyat Banthadthan, who attended the
meeting, both leaders took the drug issue seriously. The Laotian leader
requested Thailand's cooperation in stemming the flow of drugs.
Chuan has made the issue a priority in his three-day visit to Laos, as
recent flows of amphetamines into Thailand have occurred despite tight
security imposed in the North, where transit routes exist between Thailand's
border with Laos.

"I believe a serious commitment from the top will ensure that work at the
implemention level of checking and suppressing trafficking operations will
be efficient," said Banyat, who supervises the country's anti-drug campaign.
The two leaders also renewed their cooperation on border demarcation.
They reaffirmed their commitment to complete the process by the end of this
year and by 2003 for the Mekong River. About 64 per cent of the
450-kilometre land border has been completed.

According to government spokesman Akapol Sorasuchart, Laotian
representatives at the meeting appeared to have a good understanding of the
Thai government's policy of non-support for the remnants of the Lao
rightwing movement, and its efforts to prevent the group from using Thailand
to launch attacks on Laos.

The two leaders yesterday witnessed the initial signing of a long-stalled
memorandum of understanding on pricing and conditions for the purchase of
electricity from Laos' Nam Theune II dam.

Under the MOU, Thailand is to purchase power at 4.510 US cents per
kilometre hour in the first 13 years and 5.373 cents in the next 12 years.
The signing of the full agreement is expected in December. Once completed in
December 2006, the dam will generate 5,350 million megawats of electricity
per hour a year.

Thailand's 1996 financial crisis put a brake on plans to buy power from
the dam, but the economic recovery is expected to boost power demand to
1,200 mw per year.

Akapol said Laos also urged Thailand to increase the volume of imports of
23 agricultural products. Thailand provides a special import programme for
Laos under which it receives special tariff treatment.

During his meeting with Thai businessmen, Chuan said Laos' trade deficit
with Thailand has improved, as Thai exports to the country increased by only
8 per cent last year, while imports from Laos increased by 80 per cent the
same year and jumped by 68 per cent in the first three months of this year.
He also urged Thai businessmen in Laos to adopt fair business practices
and help promote understanding between the two countries.

BY PIYANART SRIVALO
The Nation
http://www.nationmultimedia.com/new/27na03.shtml

 
 

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