Home > Local News > PM: Thai troops exercise right of self-defence to protect sovereignty

PM: Thai troops exercise right of self-defence to protect sovereignty

BANGKOK, Feb 5 — Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva expressed
condolences to families of villagers and a soldier who died during
Thai-Cambodian border clashes and affirmed that Thai soldiers had
exercised the right of self-defence to protect sovereignty following
Cambodian troops opening fire on a Thai military base at Phu Ma Khua
area of Si Sa Ket on Friday.

Mr Abhisit held a press conference after a meeting with several
ministers and top security officials including Defence Minister Gen
Prawit Wongsuwan, Foreign Affairs Minister Kasit Piromya, Army chief
Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha and Natural Resources and Environment Minister
Suwit Khunkitti at Government House to assess the situation.

He said the army had carried out its duty to protect the country’s
territory in the border clashes between Thai and Cambodia troops near
Phu Ma Khua area of Si Sa Ket on Friday through Saturday morning.

The premier urged the public to have confidence that the government and
army would never invade its neighbour and called on Thai people to
support the armed forces in protecting the country’s sovereignty.

He said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would issue a statement
providing correct information about the military clash at the
Thai-Cambodian border for the international community, foreign
diplomats, the United Nations Security Council and the World Heritage
Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO).

A letter has already been sent to the UN Security Council clarifying
incidents related to deadly border clashes between Thailand and
Cambodia.

Mr Abhisit said the World Heritage Committee would be informed that the
area at Preah Vihear Temple was very sensitive and should suspend its
listing as a World Heritage Site.

Meanwhile UNESCO issued a statement saying that its Director-General
Irina Bokova expressed her deep concern at the sudden escalation of
tensions between Cambodia and Thailand on the issue of the Temple of
Preah Vihear being inscribed on the World Heritage List.

Reports indicate that troops on both sides have exchanged fire resulting in loss of life and also some damage to the temple.

Bokova expressed her distress at this sudden turn of events and called
upon both sides to exercise restraint for the sake of the preservation
of the Temple of Preah Vihear and to open direct channels of
communication at the highest levels to defuse the tension.

In a related development, Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya invited
foreign ambassadors to be briefed on the latest clashes between Thai
and Cambodian troops Saturday afternoon.

The meeting was attended by ambassadors of eight member countries of
the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), except from
Cambodia, the ambassadors from the five member countries of the UN
Security Council and ambassadors from those countries who are involved
with the World Heritage Committee.

The Thai foreign ministry informed them the details about the
skirmishes which occurred along the Thai-Cambodian border and the
meeting of the Joint Commission (JC) on bilateral cooperation between
Thailand and Cambodian which was held on Friday only a few hours before
the clashes broke out.

“The Thai foreign minister told them that Thailand had retaliated
against Cambodian troops as needed for self-defence with maximum
restraint. We do not want the situation to intensify and affect the
overall relations of both kingdoms. We are willing to use all
negotiation frameworks to create better understanding to solve the
problem at the earliest,” stated Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani
Thongpakdi.

Mr Thani added the Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, as
ASEAN chair, is scheduled to visit Thailand Feb 8 to hear a briefing on
the situation from the Thai side and would also visit Phnom Penh
regarding the matter. (MCOT online news)

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Categories: Local News
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