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Page last updated at 14:40 GMT, Thursday, 12 November 2009

Cambodia and Thailand expel staff

Cambodian PM Hun Sen and former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra in Phnom Penh (10 November 2009)
Cambodia has refused to extradite Mr Thaksin (r) to Thailand

Thailand and Cambodia have each expelled a top diplomat from the other country amid a row over ex-Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra.

Cambodia ordered the first secretary of the Thai Embassy to leave Phnom Penh, and Thailand responded in kind.

The move follows the appointment of Mr Thaksin as an economics adviser to the Cambodian government.

In a speech in Cambodia earlier, Mr Thaksin accused Thailand's leaders of "false patriotism".

Cambodia's foreign affairs ministry spokesman, Koy Kuong, said Phnom Penh expelled the Thai diplomat first and Thailand "responded by asking our first secretary to leave their country within the next 48 hours".

"The Thai diplomat has executed work in contradiction to his position," he told the AFP news agency but gave no further details.

Mr Thaksin was ousted in a military coup in 2006 and has been living in exile ever since.

He has been sentenced in his absence to a two-year jail term in Thailand in a conflict of interest case.

But Cambodia has refused an extradition request from Bangkok, saying the charges against him are politically motivated.

Tense past

At a lecture to business and government figures in Cambodia earlier on Thursday, Mr Thaksin said that what was good for Cambodia was also good for Thailand.

One of the entrance buildings at Preah Vihear

"Of course not all my compatriots see it that way right now," he said.

"I do not believe those who do not share our vision right now are myopic.

"Their domestic political compulsions force them to false patriotism," he said, without elaborating.

Thailand has already withdrawn its ambassador from Phnom Penh in protest at Cambodia's protection of Mr Thaksin.

The Thai cabinet also cancelled a memorandum of understanding on joint oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Thailand.

Relations between Thailand and Cambodia are already strained.

In recent months there has been a series of disputes centred around the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple complex near the border between the two countries.



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