Thursday, 15 October 2009

Dispute unlikely to be talked at Asean summit

By The Nation
Wed, October 14, 2009
(Post by CAAI News Media)

Asean chief Surin Pitsuwan said Wednesday he did not believe that Cambodia will raise the border conflict with its neighbour Thailand at the upcoming Asean summit in Cha-am and Hua Hin districts this month.

"I known the Cambodian stance only from news report. I think that the border spat is the issue between the two countries which can be agreed at bilateral talks," Surin said.

"It should not be raised in the Asean Summit."

Surin was responding to news reports which quoted Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong as saying Khmer PM Hun Sen will raise the Thai border spat at an upcoming regional summit despite opposition from Thailand, which is hosting the meeting.

Hor Namhong said, "Because there is no answer from Thailand to my official proposal, Cambodia still considers that Prime Minister Hun Sen can raise the dispute in the Asean summit."

He said that Cambodia is willing to raise the issue in other international bodies, including the United Nations Security Council, and accused Thailand of delaying the resolution of the dispute.

Thailand will host the summit between October 23 and 25 in Phetchaburi's Cha-am district and Prachuab Khiri Khan's Hua Hin district.

Surin, a former Thai foreign minister, said if any country member felt that the Thai-Cambodian border dispute affected Asean's image, the foreign ministers from other eight country members (except from Thailand and Cambodia) can raise the issue for discussion at the regional pact meeting.

Surin said he was not worried that the summit will be overshadowed by the Thailand-Cambodia conflict, saying that Asean members were mature and willing to solve problems.

He said if anyone of either party raised this topic at the meeting, it will be a good opportunity to help find appropriate solutions to the conflict.

Thai Foreign Ministry has insisted that the dispute should not be internationalised or raised at the regional pact meeting and Thailand will continue to seek a peaceful solution with Cambodia via a bilateral mechanism.

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