Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Thailand hopes to end border row through talks


Published: 29/09/2009
(Post by CAAI News Media)

Thailand will opt for peaceful means in solving border conflicts with Cambodia, army chief Anupong Paojinda insisted on Tuesday.

He was commenting a day after Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered his troops to shoot any Thai trespassers in the disputed area and angrily blasted Bangkok's territorial claims.

Gen Anupong reiterated that Thailand intends to solve the conflict through dialogue at the Thai-Cambodian Joint Commission on Demarcation of the Land Boundary .

Thai soldiers will perform their duty on Thai soil, and there were no plans to use violent means, he added.

He warned those living in the area to be careful if they have to cross the border.

Last weekend, People's Alliance for Democracy protesters rallied at the disputed border area near the 11th century Preah VIhear temple. Dozens of protesters, police and villagers were injured in clashes there after security forces tried to obstruct the PAD from reaching the border area.

The protest was aimed at asserting Thai sovereignty over disputed territory near the ancient temple, where PAD supporters say the land has been occupied by Cambodians .

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said he plans to meet Mr Hun Sen to discuss the border row and clarify the Cambodian leader's instructions to his troops.

"I believe Prime Minister Hun Sen could misunderstand the situation and I am ready to talk with him," Mr Suthep, who is charged of security affairs, said on Tuesday.

Mr Suthep said he did not know of reports the Cambodian premier announced that he will not attend the Asean summit, scheduled for next month in Thailand, and will not talk with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

"I do not believe this has anything to do with former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra,'' he said. ''I have ordered the Second Region Army commander to keep a close watch on the border area and to prevent any clashes between the two sides."

The border situation near Preah Vihear temple remained normal, he said.

"The Thai army is ready to respond if armed Cambodian troops enter Thai territory," Second Army Region commander Lt Gen Wiboonsak Neephan said.

However, the two sides had been trying to negotiate and work together continuously to ease the tension.

PM's deputy secretary-general Panithan Wattanayakorn said the government hoped Cambodia will also stick to peaceful means to resolve the border row.