Wednesday, 9 February 2011

ASEAN offers help to resolve Thailand-Cambodia dispute

Indonesian foreign minister Marty Natalegawa says ASEAN is pushing for a 'regional conversation' about the Thai Cambodia border dispute. [Newsline]

via CAAI

Sabrina Tumewu

Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Marty Natalegawa, says Thailand and Cambodia are committed to stabilising relations along their disputed border.

Troops from both countries remain on high alert after border clashes earlier this week around the disputed Preah Vihear temple.

The Thai government says it's ready to hold talks with Cambodia and ASEAN is offering to broker negotiations.

ASEAN's rotating chair is Indonesia, and Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, has told Radio Australia's Indonesian service he's been discussing the matter separately with Phnom Penh and Bangkok.

"Both Thailand and Cambodia, despite the recent incidents on the border, are committed to resolve whatever outstanding issues they have between them through peaceful means, and through dialogue and good relations," he said.

"Both countries, I think, recognise between them that the ceasefire must be made more permanent and recognise that this situation must be stabilised, and they are open to the idea of having Indonesia as part of the modality to ensure that the ceasefire holds."

ASEAN's ability to mediate the dispute is expected to be a critical test of the grouping's effectiveness and relevance.

Mr Natalegawa says ASEAN is pushing for a "regional conversation" about the Thai Cambodia border dispute.

"We are not in the business of adjudicating between the two sides' positions - simply to say that these issues must be resolved by peaceful means, by negotiation and that it's not helpful for them to engage in shooting across the border that they have," he said.

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