By Pravit Rojanaphruk
Published on February 12, 2011
A French offer to provide maps of the disputed border area between Thailand and Cambodia has been misrepresented by some Thai media outlets that claimed France had offered to "mediate" between the two countries.
Some columnists even attacked France for poking its nose where it wasn't wanted, leading the French Embassy to clarify the proposal.
"There never was any French offer of 'mediation' in the conflict between Thailand and Cambodia, as some media reported," said Alain Gavillet, press attache at the French Embassy.
Yesterday, elements of the Thai media continued to misreport the news and even obtained reaction from Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. Some columnists wrote pieces attacking the French government for trying to interfere in Thai-Cambodia affairs.
"Pardon ... sorry but please do not poke your nose," wrote Post Today editor Nakarn Laohavilai in his column in the paper.
On Thursday, the Thai Foreign Ministry had already issued a correction regarding the "misunderstanding".
Thani Thongphakdi, director-general of the Department of Information and spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said, "There may have been some misunderstanding about the proposal as France had not offered to mediate between the two countries as some media had reported.
"Rather, France had expressed its readiness to provide access to maps of the region it had made in the early 20th Century should any country wish to study or make copies of them."
A press release from Thani added that Thailand welcomed the offer.
"In fact, Thailand had in the past received good cooperation from Quai d'Orsay, which had given Thai officials access to their archives several times before.
Should there be additional maps that Thailand has not yet examined, it would certainly consider examining such maps without prejudice to its boundary claims."