Thursday, 10 March 2011

Cambodia agrees to GBC meeting in Indonesia

via CAAI

Published: 9/03/2011
Online news: Politics

Cambodia has agreed to a two-day General Border Committee meeting with Thailand in Indonesia on March 24-25, Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said on Wednesday.

The GBC is co-chaired by the defence ministers of the two countries.

Mr Thani said that on this occasion Thailand could discuss with Cambodia the terms for Indonesia to send observers to the Thai-Cambodian border.

A source at the Thai Armed Forces Command said the Border Affairs Department had sent a letter notifying Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon about the meeting, which will be held in Bogor, West Java.

If both sides agree to attend the meeting proposed by Indonesia it would be the first time the the GBC has met in a third country, the source said.

Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon (left) and his Cambodian counterpart Tea Banh

Gen Prawit last week called his Cambodian counterpart Gen Tea Banh on the telephone asking him to bring forward from April to March the 8th GBC meeting, which was originally to be hosted by Cambodia in Siem Reap.

"But Gen Tea Banh has not yet replied. This is because Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen does not want the meeting to be bilateral," the source said.

The source said the Thai side actually wants the GBC to be a forum for military leaders of the two countries to meet and talk, without the presence of a third party.

However, since Cambodia and the Foreign Ministry have agreed to the Indonesian proposal, the Thai military is expected to also agree, the source said.

A meeting of the Thai-Cambodian Joint Border Commission is also planned in Indonesia late this month, with no date set.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said he hoped the meetings in Indonesia will be a starting point in easing tension along the frontier between the two countries.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa had informed the ministry that Cambodia had agreed to attend the JBC meeting, Mr Thani said.

The meeting was earlier scheduled for Feb 27 but it was postponed after Cambodia said it wanted intervention by the international community.

"I hope the meeting will help ease tension between the two countries," Mr Abhisit said.

The premier said his government was firm in its stand the Thai-Cambodian conflict should be solved through negotiations at a bilateral level.

However, he would have no objection if the talks were observed by representatives from Indonesia, the current chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

No comments: