Friday, March 27, 2009
BANGKOK, March 25 (Xinhua) --
Thailand and Laos agreed on Hmong repatriation and land demarcation, Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said Wednesday.
After finishing Thai-Lao Joint Committee meeting (JC) at former Lao royal capital of Luang Prabang, Kasit told a press conference that some 5,000 ethnic Hmong who have been living in Thailand's Phetchabun province would be repatriated to Laos within this year, Thai News Agency (TNA) reported.
Thailand will offer 1.5 million baht (42,247.5 U.S. dollars) to Laos to support a public health service in Pha Lak village outside the Lao capital of Vientiane for the repatriation. Thai Foreign Ministry would contact third countries including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States for considering to accept some Hmong who are unwilling to be participated, Kasit said.
According to TNA, many Hmong men were soldiers for the United States fighting against the communist Pathet Lao (Lao Peoples' Army) during the height of the Indochina War in the 1960s and 1970s.
After the communist victory in December 1975, many Hmong fled their home country to settle in the U.S. and other Western countries, while many still remain in Thailand.
The JC meeting also discussed the progress of the land boundary demarcation, Kasit said 676 kilometers of a total 702 kilometers had been demarcated already and the remainder would be worked out by the end of this year.
Kasit also said riverine demarcation for a total length of 1,108 kilometers is expected to be completed in 2010.
Also JC agreed to increase the number of border crossings from three locations presently to nine locations in an effort to continue the joint suppression of drugs and human trafficking along Lao and Thai common border, Kasit added.