Friday, 25 February 2011

Asean observers await their orders

via CAAI

Published: 25/02/2011 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: News

Indonesia has yet to arrange with Thailand and Cambodia the deployment and scope of authority of its observers who are to visit the disputed border area.

A senior source in the Thai army yesterday said Indonesia planned to send 30 observers but their deployment in Thailand and Cambodia had yet to be finalised.

The source said Indonesia might deploy 15 observers each in Thailand and Cambodia. Alternatively, 11 military observers would be fielded in Thailand and Cambodia.

Three other military officers would supervise the observation in the two countries and five non-military observers would coordinate their mission.

Indonesian authorities will soon discuss the scope of the observation mission with Thai and Cambodian defence ministers.

The deployment will be similar to that of observers in Aceh in Indonesia, but their authority would not be as great because the conflict between Thailand and Cambodia was smaller.

Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya will meet Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha and senior officers from the Defence Ministry this afternoon to discuss the scope of work and procedures for the Indonesian observers.

Gen Prayuth said the details had to be clear and documented and be coordinated with Cambodia.

The US has welcomed Asean's efforts to resolve the deadly border dispute.

State Department spokesman PJCrowley said on Wednesday the US also supported the Asean foreign ministers' call for Cambodia and Thailand to resume bilateral negotiations "at the earliest opportunity".

Also in relation to the border, Democrat Party MP Atthawich Suwanphadi yesterday said a joint house committee deliberating the minutes of the past three meetings of the Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Commission had agreed that the documents contained no wording that showed Thailand had recognised a French 1:200,000 scale map.

Agreement on the documents was reached at meetings in Siem Reap in November 2008, in Bangkok in February 2009 and in Phnom Penh in April 2009.

The documents involved a decision by Thailand and Cambodia to survey border areas, including those near the Preah Vihear temple, and to start to make aerial maps of the border.

Mr Atthawich, spokesman of the house committee, said the panel also disapproved of a comment made by Var Kim Hong of Cambodia, co-chairman of the JBC, during one of the meetings that "Thailand invaded Cambodia".

Var Kim Hong made the remark citing the 1:200,000 scale map, he said.

He said the comment was not in line with the facts and the committee would forward its recommendation to Asda Jayanama, who co-chairs the JBC, to contest what Var Kim Hong had said at the next JBC meeting.

Mr Atthawich said the committee had not decided whether to approve the JBC minutes but it would submit its recommendation on the issue to parliament for consideration.

He said if the House endorsed the documents, it would not mean parliament accepted Var Kim Hong's remark. It would only approve the substance of the documents.

The constitution requires parliament to approve agreements that have an impact on Thai territory.

Mr Atthawich said the committee had also agreed that the memorandum of understanding signed with Cambodia in 2000 had been useful in bringing about bilateral negotiations between the two countries.

The committee stressed the need for the government to hold bilateral talks with Cambodia under the framework of the memorandum and evacuate civilians and soldiers from the two sides of the disputed area claimed by the two countries so the JBC could go ahead and complete the demarcation work.

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