Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Cambodia to ask ASEAN to send observers to Cambodia-Thai disputed border area

via CAAI

PHNOM PENH, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia will ask ASEAN to send observers to the disputed areas between Cambodia and Thailand near Preah Vihear temple to ensure a permanent cease fire, Hor Namhong, minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, said on Wednesday.

"I will ask for ASEAN observers to the area in order to control and ensure a permanent cease fire," Hor Namhong said at Phnom Penh International Airport upon his arrival from the meeting of United Nations Security Council in New York on Cambodian-Thai border conflict. He said, "We will wait and see if Thailand accepts this suggestion or not, we will know the real ambition of Thailand. "

On Feb. 22, there will be a meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers focusing on Cambodia-Thai conflict.

"If Thailand accuses Cambodia of invasion and firing first, it should not reject observers to ensure a permanent cease fire," Hor Namhong added.

"From now on, I will ask ASEAN chair or representative to join every meeting between Cambodia and Thailand," he said, adding that "Even the meeting of Cambodia-Thailand Border Commission, there must be a representative from ASEAN to join too because we have negotiated a lot with Thailand from 2008 to 2010, it was useless, the negotiations reached agreement, but they don't implement, taking excuse that their parliament do not pass."

The United Nations Security Council on Monday urged Cambodia and Thailand to establish a "permanent cease-fire," the foreign minister said.

"It also expressed support for the active efforts of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in this matter and encouraged the parties to continue to cooperate with the organization."

Hor Namhong, at the same time, accused that "despite the UNSC issued a statement calling for a permanent ceasefire, Thailand still violated it and opened fire into Cambodian territory."

"Last night, they still shot .. it was strong, they fired mortars and threw many grenades into our land, and almost every night since before the meeting of the UNSC, they have opened fire and threw grenades into our land," he said.

Cambodia and Thailand have had border conflict just a week after Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple was enlisted as World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008.

The conflict is due to Thai claim of the ownership of 1.8 square miles (4.6 sq km) of scrub next to the temple, triggering a military build-up along the border, and periodic clashes between Cambodian and Thai soldiers have resulted in the deaths of troops on both sides.

The latest clashes on Feb. 4-7, unleashed a barrage of artillery shells on both sides of the border, had killed and wounded many people, and caused tens of thousands of the two countries' villagers nearby the disputed areas fleeing for safe shelters.

ASEAN countries consist of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Editor: Mo Hong'e

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