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Cambodia to shun bilateral dialogue

Cambodia has indefinitely postponed a boundary panel meeting with
Thailand scheduled for later this month, shattering Thai hopes of
settling the border conflict bilaterally.
A machine gun of
Cambodian army soldier is placed around the Buddhist pagoda, Wat Keo
Sikha kirisvara, near Combodia’s 11th century Hindu Preah Vihear temple
in Preah Vihear province, about 245 kilometers north of Phnom Penh,
Cambodia, on Feb. 10, 2011. (Photo: AP)
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.
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Source: Asian One News
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Categories: Local News
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