Sunday, 20 February 2011

Temporary ceasefire deal agreed on

via CAAI

By Panya Thiewsangwan,
Jeerapong Prasertpolkrang
The Nation on Sunday
Published on February 20, 2011

Hun Manet, eldest son of Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen, and Thai Army Chief of Staff General Dapong Rattanasuwan yesterday signed in a temporary cease-fire agreement.

Second Army Area commander Lt-General Thawatchai Samutsakorn and 10 other Thai officers crossed Chong Sa-ngam, Si Sa Ket border to meet with Hun Manet, a lieutenant general in the Cambodian army, in a restaurant in Allongweng, a source, who joined the trip but asked not to be named, said.

He said both sides agreed to follow the previous agreement and signed an eight-point agreement which includes no mobilisation of troops, no increase in troops or heavy weapons, no confrontation and no construction in disputed areas.

The source said the two-hour talk was part of regular meetings.

However, the temporary deal is not binding as far as the upcoming Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) ministerial meeting on Tuesday is concerned.

"In case of conflicts, both countries' military would first communicate through radio. However, they must talk only about how to fix the problems," the source said.

Meanwhile, a representative of the United Nation's cultural body will come to Thailand and Cambodia next week to get details about Preah Vihear Temple and the recent border dispute.

unesco official coming

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday he got a phone call from Irina Bokova, director-general of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, who said the agency would send an official to Bangkok and Phnom Penh to hear information, without getting involved in sensitive issues.

The Unesco chief said she would send a cover letter on the scope of the representative's mission. After it receives Thai confirmation, the representative, former Unesco director Koichiro Matsuura, planned to visit next week.

"I talked to the (Unesco) director-general and found that she agrees with Thailand's proposal that the management plan for the areas surrounding Preah Vihear Temple should not to be touched on unless the land disputes have been settled," Abhisit said.

"The process must be according to the Memorandum of Understanding and the agreement of the Joint-Border Committee.

"She was also concerned when she saw that [Cambodian] soldiers stayed in the temple, which is against the agreement."

The PM said Thailand should give information to Unesco and should not quit the World Heritage Committee. If it did, the agency would be able to only hear information from Cambodia.

Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya and National Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti had done a good job so far clarifying the Kingdom's position to the UN agency, Abhisit said.

He emphasised that no trips to the disputed area would be made so long as the issue was still sensitive.

Abhisit dismissed reports that China and Vietnam supported Cambodia in the dispute. He said no country would want more tension.

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