March 10, 2011
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday appealed to Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, calling for response to the terms of reference (TOR) for Indonesian observers and the proposed meetings on March 24 on Cambodia-Thai border dispute.
"I'd appeal to my Thai counterpart Abhisit Vejjajiva to respond as soon as possible to Indonesia on TOR and the proposed meetings on March 24-25," he said, adding that "Cambodia has positively responded already."
The premier's remark was made following a letter from Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa on Wednesday, which was sent to Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, and other ASEAN foreign ministers.
The letter wrote that Cambodia has responded positively to the TOR and proposed meetings on Cambodia-Thai General Border Committee (GBC) and Joint Border Committee on Demarcation for Land Boundary (JBC) in Bogor, Indonesia on March 24-25, however, "I am look forward to hearing positive responses from Thailand," said Marty in the letter.
"It is almost one month since the ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting on Feb. 22, we firmly believe that we all have recognized the urgency of the practical activities," Marty wrote.
In the letter, Marty said that there were some changes to the conditions of TOR and asked Cambodia and Thailand to resort to a new TOR.
Hun Sen said some changes to the TOR include the guarantee that the implementation of the TOR will not affect the territory, security or public important interests, and results of negotiations on the border demarcation between Cambodia and Thailand.
Another change involved the period of Indonesian observance -- reduced to 9 months from 12 months as it was in the old TOR, because Indonesia has only 9 months to take over the ASEAN rotating chair.
"Cambodia also absolutely agreed with the new TOR and respond positively to Indonesia on Wednesday already," said Hun Sen.
The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the Temple of Preah Vihear belonged to Cambodia; however, the row over the 4.6-square-km territory around the temple has never been resolved.
The conflict has occurred just a week after Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple was enlisted as World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008, since then both sides have built up military forces along the border, and periodic clashes happened, resulted in the deaths of troops on both sides.
The latest clashes on Feb. 4-7, which unleashed a barrage of artillery shells on both sides of the border, had killed and wounded many soldiers and citizens of both sides, and caused tens of thousands of the two countries' villagers nearby the disputed areas fleeing for safe shelters.
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.