Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has asked border guards close to Thailand, especially in the area adjacent to Preah Vihear temple, to stay alert but “exercise extreme restraint”.
Hun Sen told a weekly cabinet meeting on February 25 that border guards should maintain self-control as much as possible to follow a long-term ceasefire agreement with Thailand.
The two countries reached the ceasefire at a ministerial meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on February 22. Cambodia and Thailand invited Indonesia in the capacity of the grouping president to send observers to the both sides of the disputed area.
In this regard, Thailand on February 25 said a visit by a special envoy of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to Thailand would provide an opportunity for Bangkok to explain the situation.
Thai Government spokesperson Thani Thongpakdi, however, said now is not the good time for the UNESCO special envoy to visit border areas.
The UNESCO special envoy in charge of Preah Vihear temple, Koichiro Matsuura, arrived in Bangkok late at night of February 24. He is scheduled to have a working session with the Foreign Minister and the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand prior to talks with Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
A three-member UNESCO delegation is set to arrive in Phnom Penh on February 27. The UNESCO delegation aims to hold talks on defusing tensions between Cambodia and Thailand as well as to boost dialogue between the two countries on conservation of the ancient Preah Vihear temple.