The Nation/Asia News Network
Wed, Mar 02, 2011
Cambodia has welcomed Indonesian observers to monitor a permanent cease-fire at the disputed border area near Preah Vihear Temple, giving a positive response to Jakarta's proposed terms of reference for the process, the Asean chairman said yesterday.
Thailand and Cambodia agreed during an informal meeting of Asean foreign minister in Jakarta last week to allow a team of observers from Indonesia to assess the situation at the disputed border area after clashes in early February claimed 10 lives, including three civilians on both sides. Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, the current chairman of Asean, said in Jakarta yesterday he had sent the terms of reference (TOR) to both sides last week.
"Cambodia has responded positively. Now, we are waiting for Thailand's response," he was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
Indonesia had set up two teams consisting of 30 officials, he said.
"We prepared 15 officials to observe the situation on the Thai side, namely the Indonesian Observer Team-Thailand, and to the other side, we will send the Indonesian Observer Team-Cambodia," he said.
He said the monitors would move into place once there was agreement by the two sides.
A five-member advance team from Indonesia visited Preah Vihear and nearby areas late last week to prepare for the observers' mission. They spent several hours at the border area to collect information before reporting back to Jakarta, a source said.
Thailand has yet to reach common ground among concerned agencies over the role and presence of Indonesian observers in the border area. The Thai military did not want foreign observers to have full access into the disputed area.
The border area near the historic Hindu temple has been at the core of conflict between Thailand and Cambodia for many decades. The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the temple was situated on Cambodian territory but Bangkok has argued that adjacent areas belong to Thailand. Deadly clashes erupted there in 2008, prior to the last Cambodian poll.
-The Nation/Asia News Network