Home > Local News > UN Security Council meets on Thai-Cambodian dispute

UN Security Council meets on Thai-Cambodian dispute

UNITED NATIONS: The
UN Security Council met behind closed doors on Monday to air a border
dispute between Thailand and Cambodia that has led to deadly clashes
around a Hindu temple, and Phnom Penh’s demand for a “permanent
ceasefire.”

Cambodian Foreign Hor Namhong was expected to ask the
Security Council to intervene in the conflict during the session, while
Thai Foreign Minister Kasi Piromya would insist that the two neighbours
settle the dispute among themselves, officials said.

Indonesian
Foreign Minister Marty Natalegwa, who has tried to mediate the dispute,
also was taking part in the Security Council session.

The two
Southeast Asian neighbours blame each other for the crisis, which has
left at least 10 dead, including seven Cambodians, in clashes with heavy
weapons last week.

They are fighting over a border area that
surrounds the Preah Vihear temple, an 11th century cliff-top ruin that
belongs to Cambodia but whose designation as a World Heritage site has
touched off the ire of Thai nationalists.

Accusing Thailand of
launching an “invading war” against it, Cambodia “will also ask the
United Nations to help secure a permanent ceasefire” between the two
nations, Cambodian foreign ministry spokesman Koy Kuong told AFP in
Phnom Penh ahead of the meeting.

On Sunday, Thai Prime Minister
Abhisit Vejjajiva said his foreign minister would insist that the crisis
be settled on a bilateral basis without outside intervention.

“We’re confident that we can explain that (Cambodia’s claims) are wrong,” he said in his weekly television address.

“Cambodia
is calling for (intervention by) a third country, the UN and
peacekeeping forces. Thailand will call for a return to bilateral talks
on demarcation,” he said.

Abhisit has laid the blame for the
crisis on UNESCO’s decision to declare the temple ruins, the most
celebrated example of ancient Khmer architecture outside of Cambodia’s
Angkor Wat, a World Heritage site even though the land around it is
disputed.

The World Court ruled in 1962 that the temple belonged
to Cambodia but both countries claim ownership of a 4.6-square-kilometre
surrounding area.

“The war was not caused by the listing of the
temple, but by Thailand’s invasion of Cambodian territory,” said Koy
Kuong, the Cambodian spokesman. “They want not only the territory, but
also the temple.”

On Tuesday, Ban spoke by telephone with the leaders of both countries to renew his offer to help them negotiate a settlement.

The
Security Council for its part had said it was prepared to meet on the
crisis but wanted to give more time for a mediation attempt by
Indonesia, the current president of the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations.

– AFP/de

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