Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Border negotiations take time: Thai foreign minister


via CAAI


Betwa Sharma

United Nations, Feb 15 (PTI) With UN Security Council asking Thailand and Cambodia to peacefully resolve their border dispute, Thailand''s foreign minister said border negotiations take time like India and China are yet to settle their issues.

"Look at China, India, they went to war 40 years ago.

They have not restarted the negotiations but we have started.

Border negotiations do take time," Thailand''s foreign minister Kasit Piromya told reporters.

Recalling that it took long for Russia and China to resolve their border dispute, he said, India and China are yet to resolve their border issues, in an apparent reference the 1962 war between both the nations which flared up due to the disputed Himalayan border region of Aksai Chin in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.

Piromya was at the UN to discuss his country''s border clashes with neighbouring Cambodia.

Following the recent border clashes between Thailand and Cambodia, UN Security Council has asked both the nations to resolve the dispute peacefully and establish a permanent ceasefire.

"The members of the Security Council further urged the parties to establish a permanent cease-fire and to implement it fully and resolve the situation peacefully and through effective dialogue," Maria Ribeiro Viotti, Brazil''s Ambassador to the UN said after a closed door UNSC meeting with the foreign ministers from both the countries.

The clashes between February 4 and February 7 claimed at least eight lives and led to the displacement of thousands of civilians and destruction of property.

The dispute involves an 11th century Hindu temple, Preah Vihear Temple, which both sides claim.

Cambodia wants the UN to intervene but Thailand has been pushing for the matter to be resolved bilaterally.

Both sides accused each other of starting the fight and Thailand also denies accusations by Cambodia of using cluster bombs.

"We did not shoot first... it was in response," said Piromya.

Marty M Natalegawat, foreign minister of Indonesia and chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), to which both countries belong, said that the regional organization would also play a role in finding a solution.

"ASEAN is not to replace bilateral efforts," he said, the matter would be discussed at at the ASEAN meeting on February 22 in Jakarta.

Last week, speaking at the New School in New York, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao had pointed out that India- China border was one of the most peaceful in world and failure to arrive at a solution was not due to "a lack of effort but difficulty of the questions itself." PTI BS

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