CHIANG RAI â€“ Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya says Thailand and Laos are considering inviting Cambodia and Vietnam to join the â€œSafe Mekongâ€ anti-drug operation.
Gen Paiboon was speaking after attending the 15th bilateral meeting between Thai and Lao delegates on the joint effort to prevent and combat drug trafficking the Bangkok Post Reported.
Permpong Chaovalit, secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), also attended the meeting.
The Lao delegates included Kou Chansina, chair of the Lao National Commission for Drug Control and Supervision, and Bounpone Sirivong, deputy secretary-general of the commission.
Gen Paiboon said a proposal was raised that Cambodia and Vietnam should be invited to join â€œSafe Mekongâ€ in addition to the four existing members, Thailand, Laos, China and Myanmar.
The move would mean all the countries along the river would be included in the campaign.
Delegates discussed ways to reinforce patrols on areas prone to drug trafficking, according to Mr Permpong.
During the meeting, Lao delegates asked their Thai counterparts to send information about the areas where drugs are believed to be hidden so they can find ways to prevent drug smuggling, he said.
They also called on Thai authorities to alert them when the transportation of chemicals, which can be used to make drugs, is about to take place, he said.
The Thai delegates asked their Lao counterparts to look for 15 Thai nationals wanted on arrest warrants, who they believe are in Laos, he added.
A move is under way to close the border across the Mekong River in Chiang Saen district of Chiang Rai at 6pm in the two countries, Mr Permpong said.
Lao officials also said they may set up floating stations on the river to monitor drug trafficking, he noted.
According to Gen Paiboon, Thailand and Laos work closely to tackle drug problems, particularly through the anti-drug coordination centers along the border.
â€œThe Thai government is also ready to support funding and equipment to neighboring countries through a project set out to enhance anti-drug capacities of the neighboring nations,â€ the minister said.
A deal will be signed on the matter as part of the effort to wipe out illicit drugs in the Asean.