Thursday, 30 October 2008

Thailand, Cambodia to officially confer on border conflict Nov. 10-14

BANGKOK, Oct 29 (TNA) - Thailand and its neighbour Cambodia will officially confer to discuss ways to avoid armed confrontation along their disputed border areas between November 10-14 at a meeting to be held in Cambodia, a senior Thai foreign ministry official said Wednesday.

Director-General Virachai Plasai of Treaties and Legal Affairs Department said the upcoming meeting will discuss solutions to both immediate and long-term problems.

The meeting was organised after a joint session of Thailand's House of Representatives and Senate late Tuesday gave the green light to the proposed framework and approved a clear mandate for the Joint Boundary Commission (JBC) to negotiate with Cambodia on talks to settle the disruptive border dispute between the two countries.

Discussions dealing with the short-term problem will focus on avoiding confrontation between soldiers of the two countries at disputed borde areas, especially in the vicinity of the ancient Preah Vihear temple which was the scene of the latest clash on October 15.

Officials attending the upcoming meeting are also expected to confer on a border survey and demarcation based on the 2000 memorandum of understanding and set up a temporary coordination working group to consider the disputed border areas. Results from their assessment will be forwarded to a session of the Joint Border Commission.

A joint survey and land demarcation will be discussed under the long-term solution plan, based on the convention between Siam and France in 1907 and on Siamese and Cambodian-held Indochina maps, he said.

Cambodia uses a French colonial map demarcating the border, which Thailand says favours Cambodia. Thailand relies on a map drawn up later with US technical assistance.

Mr. Virachai said Thailand will also inform official delegates attending the Ottawa Convention banning landmine usage by signatory members during a meeting in Switzerland November 24-28 that Thai soldiers had found landmines inside Thai territory near the border between the two countries.

Also, Thai officials plan to inform the delegates concerning the October 15 clash in which Thailand charged that Cambodian soldiers based at Preah Vihear temple in firing at Thai soldiers.

Relations between the two countries flared up in July when Preah Vihear, which belongs to Cambodia, was awarded a World Heritage site status by UNESCO. (TNA)

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