Saturday, 28 February 2009

Cambodian, Thai leaders pledge to resolve border dispute+

HUA HIN, Thailand, Feb. 27 (AP) - (Kyodo)—Top leaders of Cambodia and Thailand reaffirmed Friday their intent to solve a seven-month-old border dispute but set no deadline.

After a half-hour meeting in Thailand's Hua Hin resort with his Thai counterpart, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen told Kyodo News that the two countries agreed to use all existing mechanisms to solve the border problem peacefully.

The premier did not mention a time frame for finding a solution, but suggested he would meet again with Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to discuss the matter.

It was the first time for Hun Sen to meet with Abhisit since the latter came to power last year. The meeting was held on the sidelines of the 14th ASEAN summit.

The territorial dispute between the two countries stems partly from the use of different border maps, and the military standoff began soon after Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in July last year.

The area near the temple was the scene of a tense standoff between Cambodian and Thai armed forces. The situation, however, has eased but the military presence remains.

The Cambodian government insists that Thai troops have deployed on Cambodian soil, while Thailand says its troops are only in a disputed zone.

Since the border issue erupted last year, many rounds of talks at different levels including defense and foreign ministerial levels have been held but a concrete agreement or solution has proved elusive.

Hun Sen said the two countries will use the memorandum of understanding made in 2000 as a basis for resolving the conflict.

Hun Sen is on a three-day official working visit to Thailand during which he is attending the 14th summit of leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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