Thursday, 10 February 2011

PM : Thailand did not invade Cambodia but only retaliated to protect Thai sovereignty

via CAAI

On February 8, 2011, 5.50 P.M., at the National Security Council, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva remarked after the meeting of the Internal Security Operation Command (ISOC) that he would call the United Nations Secretary General Mr Ban Ki Moon on the phone in order to clarify the letter Cambodia sent to the United Nations (UN).

The Prime Minister said that he would give a factual account of what happened and state to the UN Secretary General that Thailand did certainly not invade any country nor target civilians and that Thailand only retaliated to the aggression from the Cambodian side in order to protect the Kingdom’s sovereignty. The Prime Minister said he would make it a point that Thai civilians have been severely affected by the violence that Thailand did not cause. Another point the Prime Minister stated that he would make it to the UN is that there has been progress in bilateral discussions since the ASEAN chair has met with the Foreign Ministers of both countries.

The Prime Minister said ASEAN does not oppose the two countries resolving the dispute through bilateral diplomatic channels. Noting that the clarification to UN would block the attempt to internationalise the dispute, the Prime Minister said that Thailand does not see any need for international intervention and that ASEAN supported bilateral negotiations.Responding to the question whether bilateral negotiation would be able to resolve the dispute, the Prime Minister said Minister of Foreign Affairs Kasit Piromya has noted that the date for the next JBC meeting has been set. The Government has been evaluating the situation closely and has been prepared for every scenario, said the premier. The situation on the border at the moment, the Prime Minister, remains calm.

On the possibility of one of the two sides withdrawing troops from the area, the Prime Minister said there has been no such discussion and reiterated that the Thai position is clear, that is, Thailand does not invade anyone, but, if attacked, it would retaliate. The Prime Minister said that there is no reason to be paranoid and that there have not been any discussions on halting aid to Cambodia. As for when the Government would visit the people in the area, the Prime Minister said there would be Cabinet ministers visiting on February 8, and later on, other Cabinet ministers would visit on rotation basis.

The Prime Minister then remarked that the many border disputes, especially the one at Phra Viharn Temple, have been caused by the issue of World Heritage Site and that he has warned before that the situation could get out of hand. Until recently, the situation could be contained to a certain extent, but it must be accepted that the tension on the Cambodian side has been caused by the World Heritage Committee.Regarding the Minister of Environment and Natural Resource Suwit Khunkitti’s prospective attendance at the World Heritage Convention in Bahrain, the Prime Minister said the minister would present factual accounts and evidences indicating Cambodian military forces stationed at the Phra Viharn Temple, an action that is a clear violation of the objective of the World Heritage Site. Thailand insists that such practice must end entirely, said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister stated that the issue has consistently been discussed with relevant agencies since it is clear that the area has been at risk of military clash, caused by the Cambodian attempts to submit its unilateral management plan and to elevate the conflict to an international level. So far, the Thai Government has been responding to these attempts, and how long the current tension would last depends on whether or not UNESCO has realised the problems. At this moment, the Thai ambassadors stationed around the world are presenting facts to the international community, and relevant agencies are contacting diplomatic channels to hold a bilateral meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

As for the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) who expressed their desire to travel to the site on February 11, 2011, which causes concern that there might be a clash between the PAD and the local residents who do not want the PAD to go there, the Prime Minister said he has reiterated to the local security agencies and officials that Thais must be united. If the PAD would like to help, they should come up with a better way to express their good intention, so that there will not be any problem with the local people, noting that this issue can be settled.

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