Home > Local News > UN-needed, UN-wanted: FMs agree to bilateral talks in a third country

UN-needed, UN-wanted: FMs agree to bilateral talks in a third country

Kasit: Seeking talks
Thailand has rejected United Nations intervention in the Cambodian
border dispute, saying it is not a failed state and therefore can
handle the issue itself through bilateral talks.
Foreign Ministry officials yesterday reaffirmed the country’s belief
in a bilateral approach and rejected calls by Phnom Penh to involve
outside agencies.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva meanwhile telephoned UN
secretary-general Ban Ki-moon last night to clarify the facts about the
clashes.
Details of their conversation were not released, but earlier he said
he would tell Mr Ban that Thailand had not attacked Cambodia or its
civilians.
Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said he spoke with his Cambodian
counterpart Hor Namhong yesterday and they agreed to holds talks in a
third country.
After being approached by Phnom Penh, the UN Security Council said
it would be willing to hold a meeting to discuss the conflict.
“Members of the council expressed great concern at the aggravation
of the tension on the border,” said Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, the
Brazilian ambassador who is president of the Security Council for
February.
“They called for a ceasefire and urged the parties to resolve the
situation peacefully,” she said of the fighting which has claimed eight
lives and displaced thousands.
“They expressed their willingness to hold a Security Council meeting,” she was quoted as saying by Agence France Presse.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said in Bangkok
yesterday he had received clear messages from Thailand and Cambodia
that both countries would find a peaceful solution to the problem.
Mr Natalegawa met with Mr Kasit for 40 minutes yesterday to discuss
the conflict on the last leg of his two-nation tour to Cambodia and
Thailand to help end the conflict.
Mr Natalegawa said Indonesia, as chair of the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations, was encouraging Bangkok and Phnom Penh to
solve all of their border problems through bilateral mechanisms.
He said he believed there was space for Asean and its members to
support the bilateral efforts of the two countries to resolve the
conflict.
“Any engagement by Asean and by any individual country is not to
replace the bilateral approach. On the contrary, it is to support it,”
he said.
Mr Kasit said Mr Natalegawa asked how Asean could support the two countries in restoring peace and prosperity to the grouping.
He said he had also talked with Hor Namhong on the telephone
yesterday afternoon and they agreed to hold talks in a third country to
find a solution to the border row.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdee said Thailand and
Cambodia would try to settle the dispute when they meet later this
month at the Joint Boundary Commission (JBC).
A ministry source said Thailand opposed Cambodian Prime Minister Hun
Sen’s demand for the Security Council to intervene. “If the UNSC really
wants to intervene in the two countries’ border problems, the
international body should obtain a consensus from both countries
first,” he said.
The source said Thailand could not agree to the UNSC’s idea of
holding talks with its members, as it was not a failed state and the
border problem could be solved bilaterally.
He said Cambodia was using the UN card to encourage intervention from the international community.
Hun Sen said in his letter to the UNSC on Sunday that Thai soldiers
had launched a full-scale offensive against Cambodian troops despite a
truce agreement following clashes on Friday and Saturday.
Thailand responded to the letter by sending a protest note to the
UNSC accusing Phnom Penh of provoking the border dispute that led to
clashes over the past four days.
The border fighting between Thai and Cambodian soldiers ended on Monday.
Cambodian ambassador to Thailand You Ay said the JBC was the correct
venue to discuss bilateral issues under normal circumstances.
She suggested during a seminar on Thai-Cambodian relations in
Bangkok yesterday that the International Court of Justice would be a
more appropriate forum to sort out the conflict.
The ICJ ruled in 1962 that Preah Vihear temple was in Cambodian
territory and Thailand was obliged to withdraw its troops around the
temple, she said.
Bangkok Post
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Categories: Local News
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