Home > Local News > Thailand agrees to observers on border : Cambodia

Thailand agrees to observers on border : Cambodia

Hun Sen wants to go further and get Bangkok to sign permanent ceasefire

Having been on the backfoot internationally, Thailand is braced for an informal Asean meeting
in Jakarta today over its border conflict with Cambodia – and it does
not want to concede more diplomatic ground to Phnom Penh.
Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong rushed to take the
credit yesterday as soon as he learned that Bangkok had agreed to have
observers monitor permanent ceasefire terms at the disputed area
adjacent to Preah Vihear temple.
“Now that Thailand has agreed with the idea of observers, it
would be a positive step in the meeting in Jakarta,” the Cambodian
minister told reporters yesterday before departing for the Asean forum.
“This is the result of our complaint with the UN Security
Council, because we have asked it to provide observers for the disputed
border areas to ensure a ceasefire and see who the real invader is.
This is because both sides are putting the blame on one another,”
Xinhua quoted Hor Namnong as saying.
Phnom Penh proposed last week that it would ask Asean to
send observers to ensure peace at the border, and Cambodian Prime
Minister Hun Sen went even further to seek a ceasefire agreement.
The Thai delegation, led by Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya,
left Bangkok for Jakarta yesterday, but did not offer any hints as to
what stance they were planning to take.
Kasit had said earlier that he would ask Indonesia, as current
chair of the Asean, to dispatch observers to “embed” with Thai soldiers
at the disputed areas. Bangkok is obviously changing its stance
dramatically after previously insisting that the problem be solved
bilaterally.
Cambodia, meanwhile, wants to go a step further by getting
Thailand to sign a permanent ceasefire pact in a move that would be
witnessed by all Asean members. Hor Namhong said his country had great confidence in Asean mediating in the conflict.
However, it is still unclear how Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa will steer the meeting.
Natalegawa had said in Tokyo last week that Asean could not avoid addressing conflicts among members or sweep things under the carpet as usual.
“This time around we wish to confront issues head-on and bring peace and harmony whenever there are difficulties between Asean states, like we are doing between Cambodia and Thailand,” he said.
While admitting it would not be easy to get two conflicting
sides to compromise, Natalegawa said that at least both sides had
agreed to have observers monitor the situation at the border.
Whatever the resolution of the Jakarta meeting, Asean will set a precedent in getting involved in bilateral conflicts among its members.
The UN Security Council has, for the first time, called upon the
grouping to ensure an effective dialogue in the search for a lasting
solution to the Thai-Cambodian border dispute.
“UNSC’s open and official support for conciliation efforts to the Asean chair is a sign that the United Nations has faith in Asean to help its members find amicable regional solutions to bilateral problems such as this,” Asean Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said.

The Nation

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Categories: Local News
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