Wednesday, 23 March 2011

'No' to GBC meeting in Indonesia

via CAAI

Published: 22/03/2011
Online news: Asia

The Thai top brass has decided not to attend the 8th Thai-Cambodian General Border Committee (GBC) meeting which has been scheduled in Indonesia, insisting that any talks must be purely bilateral.

Army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Tuesday that he and other armed forces commanders had resolved not to attend the GBC meeting in Bogor proposed by Indonesia and agreed to by Cambodia.

Indonesia initially proposed that the meeting be held on Mar ch 24 and 25 but later postponed it to April 7 and 8.

"We won't go. We don't want the meeting to be held in a third country.

"Soldiers of the two countries are very close to each other. Talks should be between soldiers of the two countries only, and a third party should not be involved," Gen Prayuth said.

Army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha

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

Gen Prayuth also turned down Cambodia's proposal for the setting up of 15 checkpoints manned jointly by Thai and Cambodian soldiers in the 4.6 square kilometre disputed area, to accommodate observers from Indonedia.

He said this matter should be discussed at a meeting between soldiers of the two countries.

The situation along the border near the Preah Vihear temple was still normal and the two sides had been in contact, awaiting talks between military leaders, Gen Prayuth said.

A Defence Ministry source said Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon also decided not to go to the proposed GBC meeting in Indonesia.

Gen Prawit and Cambodian counterpart Gen Tea Banh as well as military leaders of the two countries enjoyed close ties, the source said.

The Thai defence minister planned to contact Gen Tea Banh to set a date for a bilateral meeting. However, he was not sure if Gen Tea Banh would agree, since Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen had said he would not back a bilateral meeting, the source said.

According to the source, the meeting, if held, would be for the two sides to discuss the posting of Indonesian observers and deployment of troops in the disputed area.

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