Monday, 31 January 2011

PM renews plea to PAD for talks

via CAAI

Published: 30/01/2011

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Sunday offered to talk to the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) to clear any misunderstanding on the Thai-Cambodian border disputes.

Mr Abhisit said he is ready to send his aides to meet leaders of the yellow-shirts to clear any doubts they have on the ways the government is solving the disputes.

"My government is open-minded. I would like to see the PAD to open their mind too," the premier said in his weekly national televised address.

"Rather than simply accusing each other, we should find ways to compare our information," he said.

"If our information does not match, how can we adjust each other's understanding to find certain common understanding?"

PAD followers, who launched their rally last Tuesday and have occupied part of Ratchadamnoen Road, have set three demands.

They want Mr Abhisit government to scrap the existing memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between Thailand and Cambodia in 2000 as the framework for settling the two countries' disputed border areas.

They also demand that the prime minister oust Cambodians from disputed areas, and pull Thailand out of the World Heritage Convention of Unesco.

Mr Abhisit said that many of the PAD supporters misunderstand that the MOU allowed Cambodians to trespass into the 4.6-square-kilometre disputed area near Preah Vihear temple.

He said the MOU in itself did not set the demarcation line of boundaries of Thailand or Cambodia, as demarcation was an issue for negotiation between the two countries based on other agreements or documents.

"The MOU does not put (Thailand) in disadvantage," the premier emphasised.

He said if the government moved to evict Cambodians from the disputed areas, it could create more troubles along the Thai- Cambodian border.

He also said that Thailand should not pull out as a party to the World Heritage Convention as that would allow Phnom Penh to gain an upper hand in administering the disputed area.

"The government stands firm on solving the issue by protecting Thai people's interest 100 per cent," he said.

"But at the same time, we need not affect peace or good bilateral relationship."

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