March 05, 2011
Cambodia sticks to its stance on Friday that there will be no bilateral meeting of Cambodia- Thailand General Border Committee (GBC) this month as requested by Thailand, Lt. Gen. Chhum Socheat, spokesman for Cambodian Ministry of Defense, said Friday.
"His Excellency Tea Banh (Cambodian Defense Minister) has already replied the Thai request, saying that it's not appropriate time to hold the meeting and there will be no bilateral talks without the presence of ASEAN chair," he said by telephone.
"If Thailand wants to propose meeting with Cambodia, it can ask ASEAN chair to convene," he said.
The Bangkok Post quoted Thai Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwon on March 3 as saying that Thailand has requested Cambodia to hold the 8th GBC meeting in March, instead of its usual meeting in April, so the two countries can hold bilateral talks sooner to solve problems and to talk over arrangements for Indonesian observers to visit the border area.
"It is just Thai's excuse to delay its acceptance of Indonesian observers," said Chhum Socheat.
Usually, the GBC is co-chaired by the two countries' defense ministers, aiming at strengthening and expanding cooperation on the armies of the two countries and to control security along the border.
Cambodia and Thailand on Feb. 22 agreed to receive Indonesian observers to monitor the border disputed areas near the 11th century Preah Vihear temple in order to ensure a permanent ceasefire; however, so far Thailand has not approved the terms of reference to receive the observers.
Preah Vihear Temple was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2008.
The conflict has occurred just a week after the inscription due to Thai claim of the ownership of 1.8 square miles (4.6 sq km) of scrub next to the temple, since then periodic clashes have happened between the two nations' troops, resulted in the deaths of troops on both sides.