Double standards

Published: Saturday 15 March 1997

a recent report of the us state department has turned a blind eye to the illegal timber trade across the border of Thailand and Cambodia. In order to preserve its cordial relations with Thailand, the department has notified the us Congress that Thailand has effectively sealed its border with Cambodia and curbed the smuggling of timber from Cambodian forests.

The report does not take note of the numerous accounts from environmental groups and independent observers of clandestine timber traffic between Cambodia and Thailand and the involvement of senior officials of both the governments in these dealings.

The us was required to withhold most of its aid to Thailand if it was found that the latter continued to promote commerce (mainly timber trade) that aided Cambodia's Khmer Rouge rebels. If it had done so, the us would have lost an important economic and political partner in South-east Asia.

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