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Cambodia to shun bilateral dialogue

Foreign Ministry’s letter to Thai Embassy says JBC mechanism cannot resolve border dispute.

Cambodia has indefinitely postponed a boundary panel meeting with
Thailand scheduled for later this month, shattering Thai hopes of
settling the border conflict bilaterally.
The Thai Embassy in
Phnom Penh received a letter from the Cambodian Foreign Ministry,
saying Cambodia was not prepared for a bilateral meeting under the
framework of the Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Committee (JBC),
according to a source.
In their letter dated Thursday, the
Cambodian authorities said that they wanted the JBC meeting, earlier
scheduled to take place in the last week of this month, to be postponed
indefinitely, a source at the Thai Foreign Ministry revealed.
President
of the Cambodian JBC, Var Kimhong, said yesterday that no meeting of
the joint panel to define the land boundary would be held later this
month, China’s Xinhua news agency reported from Phnom Penh.
“There
will be no meeting of the JBC later this month. Now, the bilateral
mechanism cannot resolve the issue,” he was quoted as saying, referring
to the border conflict between the two countries.
Chavanond
Intarakomalyasut, secretary to Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, said in
a telephone interview yesterday that the ministry had not received any
official notification from Cambodian authorities that they would not
attend the meeting.
He said Thailand insisted on settling the border dispute with Cambodia through talks and peaceful means.
Prime
Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said earlier yesterday that Thailand
intended to take part in the JBC meeting in a bid to settle the dispute
with Cambodia bilaterally. “We [both countries] have a mechanism to
settle the problem, but Thailand and Cambodia have to work together to
make the bilateral mechanism function,” he said.
Cambodia has
succeeded in internationalising the spat over the common border,
particularly over the disputed area adjacent to the ancient Preah
Vihear Temple. The border conflict led to a new round of armed clashes
early this month. Both states accuse the other of firing first.
The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to hold a meeting behind closed doors tomorrow on the border clashes.
Foreign
Minister Kasit Piromya, his Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhong, and
Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, who has been trying to
mediate in the dispute, are expected to speak to the council.
Spokesman
for the ruling Democrat Party, Buranaj Smutharaks, said yesterday that
Kasit would present facts to the Security Council regarding Cambodia’s
firing at civilian targets during the armed clashes.
The foreign
minister and Thai JBC chief, Asda Jayanam, met senior officials of the
UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) in Paris
on Friday, according to the spokesman. Thailand presented photos
showing Cambodian troops stationed at Preah Vihear to prove its claim
that Cambodia had violated a treaty that bans the use of a World
Heritage Site as a shield in a military conflict or for housing
soldiers and storing weapons.
Meanwhile, the Cambodian newspaper
Kampuchea Thmey Daily ran a caricature of Abhisit on the front page
yesterday, depicting him as a war-mad dictator.
The caricature
showed Abhisit with Hitler-style hair and moustache in military uniform
with an armband featuring a Nazi swastika. The PM was shown holding an
assault rifle and balancing on a rope above a fire.
It was the
latest effort by the media in Cambodia to paint Thailand in a negative
way. Earlier, some Cambodian radio stations reportedly claimed Thai
troops intentionally fired at Preah Vihear temple.

The Nation

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Categories: Local News
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