Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Cambodia hopes to "avoid any large military clash" with Thailand

via CAAI

February 15, 2011

Cambodia said here on Monday that the current situation of a cease-fire with Thailand after the border clashes "remains extremely fragile," but the country still hopes to "resolve the problem peacefully, in order to avoid any large military clash."

The statement came as Hor Namhong, Cambodian deputy prime minister and minister of foreign minister and international cooperation, was addressing a closed UN Security Council meeting.

"Even though there were two de facto agreements on a cease-fire, the current situation, however, remains extremely fragile," he said. "Fresh fighting may breakout again at any time without forewarning."

Earlier on Monday, Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya told reporters here that "There is no reason why there should be the continuation of the conflict (with Cambodia) in the sense that we have all of the bilateral mechanisms to do the border negotiations to look at the border security through our respective defense ministers under the general border committee."

Earlier on Monday, the Security Council called on both Cambodia and Thailand to display maximum restraint, avoid any action that may aggravate the situation, and to establish a permanent cease- fire.

Also on Monday, Marty Natalegawa, the chairman of ASEAN and Indonesian foreign minister, told reporters here that the Thai- Cambodian border clashes needs to be resolved peacefully, through dialogue and negotiations.

Earlier this month, both Cambodia and Thailand have written to the 15-nation Security Council on the border conflict. The Cambodian-Thai border dispute was also brought before the Security Council after the clashes took place in October 2008.

The border between Thailand and Cambodia has never been fully demarcated. From Feb. 4 to Feb. 7, at least eight people were killed and 67 others were injured in border clashes, reports said.

Although the International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the Temple of Preah Vihear belonged to Cambodia, the row over the 4.6-square-km territory around the temple has never been resolved.

The conflict has occurred just a week after Cambodia's Temple of Preah Vihear was enlisted as World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008, since then both sides have built up military forces along the border, and periodic clashes occurred, resulting in the deaths of troops on both sides.

Namhong, also in his statement at the closed-door meeting, accused Thailand of "aggression," saying "Cambodia has exercised utmost restraint and maintained great patience in negotiating with Thailand to resolve the problem peacefully, in order to avoid any large military clash."

"Negotiation bilaterally have failed, therefore we need one other third party to have the two party to settle our problem," Namhong told reporters here after closed door Security Council meeting.

On Monday, the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Office of the Council of Ministers of Cambodia issued a statement rejecting "the false statement of Thai Premier Abhisit Vejjajiva on Preah Vihear temple."

The statement said that the Bangkok Post on Feb. 11 reported, and which was also published in the National News Bureau of Thailand, that "Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva asks UNESCO to remove the temple of Preah Vihear from the World Heritage List, claiming that the delisting of the temple of Preah Vihear would remove tensions between Cambodia and Thailand."

The statement "strongly rejected the false statement of Thai prime minister", saying that the "real tension has been caused by Thailand's long-standing territorial invasion."

Source: Xinhua

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