November 7, 2009
(Posted by CAAI News Media)
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan on Saturday called on all Foreign Ministers of the 10-member regional bloc to help Cambodia and Thailand settle their bilateral dispute “amicably” as soon as possible.
Pitsuwan expressed concern over the escalation of tensions between Cambodia and Thailand, appealing to both countries to exercise maximum restraint.
In a letter to ASEAN Foreign Ministers, the ASEAN Secretary General said he has received many inquiries and expressions of concern from ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners and friends “over the apparent deterioration of relations between Cambodia and Thailand.” Both countries have recalled their Ambassadors earlier this week.
“We in ASEAN cannot afford to be seen as being so seriously divided prior to the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Meeting and the historic ASEAN-US Leaders Meeting in Singapore this month,” Surin said.
Citing the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) of 1976, Surin said all other Member States in ASEAN are obliged to offer assistance to help fellow Member States settle their bilateral disputes, even when the two disputing parties cannot agree to refer their dispute to any regional means of dispute settlement. (Madel Sabater)