Visa-free for Cambodians Visiting Myanmar
Myanmar and Cambodia have agreed on mutual visa exemption for holders of ordinary passports.
The agreement was signed by Myanmar Deputy Foreign Minister U Tin Oo Lwin and Cambodian Ambassador to Myanmar Sieng Burvuthin Nay Pyi Taw.
The agreement will mean citizens of the two countries can visit without the need to apply for a visa.
In February 2011, Myanmar established air links with Cambodia and Myanmar Airways international (MAI) introduced a service between Yangon and Siem Reap in April. It extended the service to Phnom Penh in November 2011.
In another development, Myanmar’s House of Representatives Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann will lead a delegation to Cambodia this week to beef up bilateral ties.
Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and Singapore still need to sign off on visa-free travel with Myanmar.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ ASEAN Affairs Department general director, U Aung Lynn, told the local media that the signing of a planned visa exemption programme between Myanmar and Thailand would be delayed until next year.
“Thailand is also not ready to sign the agreement …we are waiting, but we can’t get it signed yet because the Thailand side still has some internal processes to complete,” he said. “When they are ready we will sign it.”
The delay is due to political upheavals in Bangkok that halted all but the most urgent of business at most ministries.
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was expected to sign the agreement in November during a ceremony to mark the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries or at the latest during a planned visit to SEA Games held earlier this month but she was forced to cancel all trips.
Myanmar has now accelerated compliance with ASEAN’s visa exemption programme ahead of assuming the ASEAN chair in 2014. Up until this year, Myanmar said it was not ready to comply with the objective that all citizens of the 10-member group should be able to travel to each member country freely.
It still requires bilateral agreements between member countries even though visa-free travel is embedded in the ASEAN founding charter.
Laos was the first to sign a bilateral agreement needed to introduce visa-free travel between the two countries, followed by Vietnam and the Philippines.
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