Thursday, 24 March 2011

Indonesia not wanted, Prayuth insists

via CAAI

Published: 24/03/2011
Newspaper section: News

Observers from Indonesia are not needed to solve the Thai-Cambodian border dispute, army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha insists.

Thai military leaders have also proposed that Thailand and Cambodia set up joint checkpoints to secure the disputed area.

"A third country or any other country must not get involved. Thailand and Cambodia can talk.

He repeated the stance taken by Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon and armed forces chiefs. They want the Foreign Ministry to tell Cambodia they do not want any observers from Indonesia, the current chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), to get involved in bilateral border issues.

"I do not reject observers but I do not think they are necessary because we can solve the problem ourselves.

"If observers finally come, I will keep them on the outside.

"Why should they enter the strategic area? That is dangerous. If observers are there, can they prevent Cambodia from violating the 2000 MoU?

This is the point," Gen Prayuth said, referring to the Thai-Cambodian memorandum of understanding on bilateral demarcation.

Indonesia proposed a compromise solution on Feb 22 to try to solve the border conflict between Thailand and Cambodia by sending 15 of its observers to each side of the border near the Preah Vihear temple.

The army chief also insisted that the next meeting of the General Border Committee (GBC) would happen in a bilateral manner. He said it was the turn of Cambodia to organise the GBC but if Cambodia was not ready to host it, Thailand could do so.

Meanwhile, the world heritage body Unesco is sending an urgent mission to examine Preah Vihear temple after it was damaged in border clashes between Thailand and Cambodia.

"I intend to send a mission to the area as soon as possible," Unesco's head Irina Bokova said on Tuesday.

Ms Bokova called for "calm and restraint" around the Preah Vihear temple, which suffered damage during recent fighting.

"World Heritage sites are the heritage of all humanity and the international community has a special responsibility to safeguard them," she said.

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