Friday, 18 February 2011

Hun Sen clings to Asean option

via CAAI

Published: 17/02/2011

Cambodia wants foreign ministers of the Assoication of Southeast Asian Nations, or the Asean chairman, to sit in on bilateral talks with Thailand, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Thursday.

Hun Sen said this during his meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Trairong Suwannakhiri and Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Polabutr, who called on him in Phnom Penh, news reports said.

Mr Trairong and Mr Alongkorn were in the Cambodian capital for the opening of the Thai trade fair.

They discussed trade and border issues withe the Cambodian leader.

Hun Sen said he did not want the Thai-Cambodian border conflict to escalate and wanted both sides to jointly establish demarcation posts and comply with the United Nations Security Council's call for a permanent ceasefire agreement through bilateral talks.

The Cambodian prime minister proposed that each bilaterial talk be witnessed by representatives of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or the Asean chairman.

He asked Mr Trairong to convey the message to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva that he did not want the two countries to engage in a war of words.

Mr Trairong said the Thai government had been careful about what it said, but could not stop some groups from speaking their minds.

The two sides agreed to promote trade and investment cooperation and agreed that the problems between them had affected trade and tourism.

At a separate press conference, Hun Sen also said Cambodia would propose that foreign ministers of Asean or the Asean chairman witness the signing of a permanent ceasefire agreement with Thailand, expected to be reached in Jakarta on Feb 22.

He said it would be much better if the Asean chairman, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, could co-sign the agreement.

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