Home > Local News > Cambodia turns to Asean [ Thailand sticks to line of opposing outsiders ]

Cambodia turns to Asean [ Thailand sticks to line of opposing outsiders ]

Thailand has rebuffed a plan by Cambodia to ask the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations to send observers to monitor the shaky
ceasefire along the border.
Hor Namhong: Thailand ignored UN
The move comes less than a week before foreign ministers from the
Asean member countries meet in Jakarta where they will discuss the
border spat.
There has also been an upturn in fighting between Thai and Cambodian
troops at Phu Makhua mountain in Kantharalak district of Si Sa Ket
province, which is part of the area under dispute.
Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told reporters in Phnom Penh
yesterday on his return from the United Nations Security Council
meeting on Monday night that Cambodia would lodge a request for Asean
observers at the Jakarta meeting.
The meeting on Tuesday will be chaired by Indonesian Foreign
Minister Marty Natalegawa, who also attended the UNSC meeting on Monday
along with Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya.
Hor Namhong said Thailand had ignored the Security Council’s call on
Monday for restraint and that it was necessary for Asean to step in to
ensure peace on the border near the 11th- century Preah Vihear temple.
“We will ask Asean observers to come to the Preah Vihear area to
make sure that a permanent ceasefire holds,” he said. “Let’s see
whether the Thais accept or not.”
Mr Kasit’s secretary, Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, dismissed
Cambodia’s call for Asean involvement. He said the plan would be shot
down when it was put on the negotiating table.
“Mr Hor Namhong failed to convince the UNSC to send its observers to the [disputed] area,” Mr Chavanond said.
“That’s why he keeps trying to throw the matter to Asean to take it up.
Thailand was confident the regional grouping would not intervene in
the dispute but would act as a facilitator in putting an end to the
border conflict between Bangkok and Phnom Penh.
Thailand and Cambodia disagree on how the border conflict should be
resolved. Thailand insists on bilateral talks while Cambodia envisages
a role for outside parties.
Thailand has proposed that the problem be thrashed out at the
Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Commission meeting next Sunday. But
Cambodia appears noncommittal.
“If Cambodia rejects the bilateral channel, I can’t see any other mechanisms to replace it,” Mr Chavanond said.
The two countries accused each other at the Security Council meeting
in New York on Monday of instigating the fighting on Feb 4 and several
more clashes after that. They are expected to trade accusations again
at the meeting of Asean foreign ministers.
The UN security body has called for a permanent ceasefire and
rejected Cambodia’s call for UN intervention and peacekeepers to be
stationed at the disputed frontier.
Mr Kasit, who will lead the Thai delegation to the Indonesian
capital, will brief Defence Minster Prawit Wongsuwon on the outcome of
the Security Council meeting.
Gen Prawit and Cambodian Defence Minister Teah Banh will decide
whether there will be a permanent ceasefire in line with the call by
the Security Council, Mr Chavanond said.
The UN has ordered its six staff to leave the Cambodian province of
Koh Kong opposite Trat province because of the border skirmishes.
UN security officials told staff by email that travel to Koh Kong town was restricted “until further notice”.
The UN email said up to 70% of the town’s population had left because of the border tensions.
The UN has also evacuated staff from areas near Preah Vihear temple.
Bangkok Post
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Categories: Local News
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