Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Thailand, Cambodia Foreign Ministers to Face Off at UN

Daniel Schearf
Bangkok February 14, 2011
via CAAI

Photo: AP
Thai soldiers walk past the wreckage of a pickup truck, right, that hid a bomb which was detonated by suspect Muslim militants in Yala province, southern Thailand, February 13, 2011

Thailand and Cambodia's are to make their case before the United Nations in New York over deadly border fighting that erupted a week ago. Cambodia wants U.N. peacekeepers sent to prevent further clashes. But Thailand rejects any U.N. involvement.

Thailand's Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya and Cambodia's Foreign Minister Hor Namhong will address the United Nations Security Council on Monday

Cambodia requested the emergency meeting after the worst fighting with Thailand in years broke out near a disputed border area.

At least eight people were killed when soldiers exchanged artillery and machine-gun fire. Thousands of villagers fled for safety. Both sides say the other fired first.

By Monday, many had returned home but both sides are on full alert for any further clashes.

Cambodia calls the clashes a Thai invasion akin to war and wants the U.N. to send peacekeeping troops to the area.

Phay Siphan, a spokesman for Cambodia's Council of Ministers, says the U.N. presence would help build trust between the two nations.

"What we wish to tell the world that we wish to stop all aggressions,” Phay Siphan said. “We wish to stop all firing against the temple of Preah Vihear. And, we wish to build like a trust between two nations."

Thailand rejects the proposal for U.N. troops.

Thai government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn says the issue must be resolved bilaterally.

"We hope that the international community will persuade Cambodia to return to the negotiating table with us where we already have the memorandum of understanding and we also have the exiting mechanism - the joint border committee that was to have met before the incident took place at the end of the month," Panitan said.

Cambodia pulled out of the border talks after the fighting broke out.

The clashes erupted near disputed territory surrounding a 900-year-old Hindu Khmer temple known as Preah Vihear in Cambodia and Phra Viharn in Thailand.

The International Court of Justice in 1962 ruled the temple is in Cambodia, but a main entrance is on the Thai side and both dispute areas around the temple.

The border dispute flared up in 2008, after the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, granted World Heritage status to the temple.

Thai nationalists, many of whom say the temple belongs to Thailand, protested, and both governments reinforced troops along the border, who occasionally exchanged gunfire.

In this latest incident, Cambodia says the temple sustained heavy damage from Thai shelling, though foreign media reports indicate it was minor.

A U.N. team wants to visit the temple to assess the damage but Thailand has objected and is lobbying to have the World Heritage status removed.

The border tensions come as internal pressure is building on the Thai government.

Thousands of anti-government Red Shirts are holding monthly demonstrations against what they say is unfair treatment of their leaders.

Nationalist Yellow Shirts are also rallying against the government for not being tougher on Cambodia.


Comments (18)

14-02-2011 Anon Y. Mous (Cambodia)
What does the photo shown here about a bombing by suspected Muslim militants have to do with a story about Thai-Cambodian border clashes? Nothing, I think.

14-02-2011 I think Siam should back off and leave Cambodia alone. They took 17 of Cambodian provinces and now they claim that Preah Vihear is their too. How much more land do Siam wanted from Cambodia? stop being self-fish you bloody slave .

14-02-2011 battambong (cambodia)
no more bilateral talk ! how can that be solved bilaterally ? please explain , my so-clever Thailand ! stop hiding your poisonous tricks from now on, the international communities now know how poisonous you are Thailand !

14-02-2011 Julie
Isn't Preah Vihear located in Cambodia? So why is the Thai asking UNESCO to delist it? Also, has't the two countries been holding bilateral talks for over a decade now? If no resolution has been found for over a decade, shouldn't the two countries ask a third person to intervene? Why is Thailand so afraid of having a third party to get involved? Should Thailand be happy that a third person is willing to help?

14-02-2011 Exactly what can UN do to help Thai-Kampuchia conflict other than put up a stage for political show?

14-02-2011 Paul Ngo (Canada)
Why everything that build by the Khmer people and has Cambodian charactors are belong to Thai. Don't they have their own culture? Can't they find in their root that they actually have a historic culture of their own? Don't go and rob other people culture and call it yours! It's low.

14-02-2011 sothy (cambodia)
Yellow shirts are the big virus!

14-02-2011 I would like to tell Thai people to tell your Govt' to safeguard your own south point territory , and stabilize your internal unrest first before Thai try to take other country territory.

14-02-2011 sam (usa)
VOA should not view different pic, while writting about Cambodia border. This would create confusion for some viewers. The depict story is shown different physical evidence.

14-02-2011 (Australia)
Thailand wants to avoid the UN and other international committees because they're afraid of the world finding out how incorrect they are which will lose their reputation. But LOL! Just by avoiding it and bringing up bilateral meetings with Cambodia just show how suss and scared they are. Like as Hun Sen said directly to Abhisit last week, "Don't be afraid".

14-02-2011 Khwerty (France)
Thailand wants war. Don't loose our time with a fake bilateral talk... If Thailand is modern nation, it would respect international treaties which have existed since 1907 and the decision of the International Court of Justice in 1962 . If Thailand is in the right, it would use the International Court of Justice for claiming the land, instead of using force.

14-02-2011 Nal (France)
Even if Khmer comes to an agreement with Thailand today, it will be contested by the Thailand's next government . That is what happen now. Don' trust in Thailand : thais will do everything to go in war with khmers because they are thinking we are weaks. They will be surprising this time... Khmer prophecy : Bangkok Kchat Kchay : Bangkok split Sabai Angkor : Happiness in Angkor

14-02-2011 Angela (USA)
Thailand, please stop the fight between you and Cambodai. What else do you want from them? Through out history, you have taken enough from them. Leave Cambodia alone. I'm glad the UN will intervene and tell Thailand to back off. Preah Vihear belongs to the Canmbodians! Thailand, you are no better than the tourists trying to take over another countries.

14-02-2011 zero (cambodia)
thai gov't is afraid of the UN cuz they know it's their mistake. Come on let's have a third party to judge who will win. SIEMS, LOSER

14-02-2011 Sarin (Cambodia)
I think, most of Thai people are good, but the Thai government actually is lead by the people, who has very low education, they don't know the international law, they don't want third party involve because they know clearly that, they have no evident to show the international community. Cambodia spent two years for bilateral talk with Thailand, the result is Thai soldiers used heavy weapon against Cambodia and especially temple site.

14-02-2011 Patrick (US)
Here's what I don't get. Thailand insists it can be solved bilaterally. OK, let bring on the table. What do Thailand want in order for the issue to be "solved" ? They want to co-manage Cambodian Preah Vihear temple ? They want to take or co-manage the land around Preah Vihear ? The answer from Cambodia is clearly no. Then it's simple that the issue cannot be solved bilaterally as the Thai claimed. That is why a third internatioal body UN would have to step in.

14-02-2011 Bill (USA)
I don't understand this! Is Thailand still claiming that this temple is hers? Or that the temple belongs to Cambodia and the land it is buliting on belongs to Thailand? This does not make sense. Is it greed or stupidity that Thailand gov't and the Yellow shirts are exibiting? Thailand, you are acting like a child! Grow up and learn to accept others as equal. Solve your internal political problems within your border. Stop using Cambodia as a scapegoat of your indecisiveness.

14-02-2011 Ricky
The picture in this arcle should show the reckage of Prah Vihear Temple that caused by rockets.

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