BANGKOK, Feb 13 -- Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Sunday he was not surprised that Cambodia planned not to attend a Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Commission (JBC), scheduled for later this month aimed at solving border dispute between the two neighbouring countries.
Mr Abhisit said refusal by Phnom Penh to attend the planned JBC upcoming meeting did not surprise him because it could be an excuse for Cambodia to inform the UN Security Council meeting that it is impossible to adopt bilateral mechanisms in solving the border dispute with Thailand.
Thai Foreign Affairs Minister Kasit Piromya, along with his Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhong and Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, the current chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), are scheduled to attend a UN Security Council meeting to be held in New York on Monday.
The New York meeting will help Thailand clarify to the international community about bloody fighting between troops of the two countries at the disputed border near the ancient Preah Vihear temple from February 4 to 7.
Stressing that he has not yet received an official letter from the Phnom Penh government that it would not attend the JBC meeting, Mr Abhisit said the Thai government’s stance remains unchanged that the border problem with Cambodia must be resolved through bilateral talks and this would be possible if every (concerned) agencies agree to it.
Cambodia's plans to boycott the JBC meeting became clear after Var Kimhong, president of Cambodia’s JBC, reportedly told the Chinese Xinhua News Agency on Saturday that there would be no meeting of the JBC later this month and that bilateral mechanisms cannot resolve the issue.
On UNESCO officials planning to inspect area around Preah Vihear temple, Mr Abhisit said the agency had not yet sent him a letter requesting its officials to travel to the area.
He said the Thai government is prepared to inform all the facts surrounding the disputed temple to every platform but situation could become deteriorated if they (UNESCO officials) insist on travelling to the area.
Mr Abhisit had earlier in the day said during his weekly TV and radio address that both UNESCO and its World Heritage Commission should cease considering a management plan for Preah Vihear temple, submitted by Phnom Penh and scheduled to be considered in the middle of this year, in order to help cool tensions. (MCOT online news)