Saturday, 30 August 2008

Bangkok protests not reason Thai, Cambodia border talks postponed


Submitted by Mohit Joshi
Fri, 08/29/2008

Bangkok - Thailand's Foreign Ministry issued a statement Friday that talks between Bangkok and Phnom Penh over disputed border areas were postponed by mutual agreement for internal procedures and not because of political tension in Thailand, as some media reported.

The "meeting has been postponed, not because of Thailand's domestic political situation, but because both sides still need to complete their relevant internal procedures," the press release states.

Anti-government protests in Bangkok by the Thai opposition People's Alliance for Democracy movement, which escalated Tuesday and continued to be tense Friday.

But the Thai Foreign Ministry statement says both sides agreed to postpone the meeting and "reschedule it as soon as possible ... Thailand is committed to resolving outstanding issues through negotiations," the press statement reads.

On Thursday a Cambodian official said the formal talks scheduled for Friday were abruptly cancelled.

"We had prepared all the documents," said Cambodian Defence Ministry Secretary of State Neang Phat. "Then a call came and they asked for the meeting to be delayed. They didn't say why but we can assume. This is Thailand's business, not ours."

No date has been set to resume joint talks over border areas around the newly listed UNESCO World Heritage site of Preah Vihear temple, as well as the Ta Moan temple complex 150 kilometres to its west.

Thailand maintains the sovereignty of the areas is disputed but Phnom Penh claims the territory belongs to Cambodia. Several rounds of bilateral talks so far have failed to break the impasse.

Cambodia closed the border to Thailand at Preah Vihear, north of Siem Reap, in June after Thai protesters gathered in the area, saying it feared trouble with Cambodian settlers.

On July 7 UNESCO granted the 11th-century hilltop Hindu temple World Heritage status over protests by Thailand. Thai troops moved into nearby areas a week later, severely straining relations between the neighbours. (dpa)

No comments: