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LAOTIAN REFUGEES: Tripartite meetin
- Subject: LAOTIAN REFUGEES: Tripartite meetin
- From: suriya@xxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 11:52:00
Subject: LAOTIAN REFUGEES: Tripartite meeting in July
June 26, 1999
Tripartite meeting in July
Thailand, Laos and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees will meet
next month to work out ways to repatriate the remaining Laotian refugees, a
Foreign Ministry official said yesterday.
The meeting was prompted by Thailand's fear the 1,345 Laotian refugees still
remaining at Ban Napho in Nakhon Phanom could become a permanent burden.
The camp was opened more than 20 years ago. The repatriation programme has
been suspended since the remaining refugees want to stay on in Thailand if
are not going to be resettled in a third country.
The Vientiane government has so far insisted on taking back only voluntary
returnees. Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan, after yesterday's talks with
Jahanshah Assadi, the new UNHCR regional representative, maintained that all
Laotian refugees must be sent back.
"We need to resolve this problem because we cannot allow these people who have
proof of origin to remain here permanently," he said.
Talks with Vientiane would continue to convince Laos to agree to take its
Mr Assadi confirmed yesterday that the UNHCR would continue helping meet the
cost of running the Napho camp.
Mr Assadi said the UNHCR was also still concerned for the safety of about
100,000 Burmese refugees living along the Thai-Burmese border.
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Last Modified: Sat, Jun 26, 1999
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