February 21, 2011
Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said Monday that Cambodia welcomes Thailand's intention to ask Indonesia to send observers to embed in Thai side's troops in the border conflict near the 11th century Preah Vihear temple.
"Now Thailand agreed with the observers, it's the best, so it will be positive step in the meeting in Jakarta on Feb. 22," he told reporters on Monday morning at Phnom Penh International Airport before departing for the foreign ministers' meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Jakarta, Indonesia to hear of the border dispute between Cambodia and Thailand.
"This is the result of our complaint to the United Nations Security Council because we had asked to the UNSC for observers to the disputed border areas to ensure cease-fire and to observe who the real invader is-- as both sides always put the blame on each other," he added.
Hor Namhong's remark was made following a Sunday's announcement by Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya that Thailand planned to invite Indonesia to send observers to "embed" with Thai soldiers at the border where Thai troops clashed with Cambodian troops.
"We would ask Indonesia, chair of ASEAN, to dispatch observers to embed with the Thai troops at the border where the Thai troops clashed with Cambodian troops. The observers will be our witness that we respect the ceasefire," The Nation quoted Kasit as saying on Sunday.
During the upcoming ASEAN foreign ministers'meeting, Cambodia will ask Thailand to sign a permanent ceasefire under the witness of ASEAN chair or representative and it will also ask ASEAN observers to the disputed areas to ensure the permanent ceasefire.
"Cambodia has a strong confidence on ASEAN in meditating the conflict," 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 soldiers and citizens of both sides, and caused tens of thousands of the two countries' villagers nearby the disputed areas fleeing for safe shelters.
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.