On 9 March 2011, Mr. Thani Thongphakdi, Director-General of the Department of Information and Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, responded to media enquiries regarding preparations for meetings of the General Border Committee (GBC) and the Joint Boundary Commission (JBC), as follows:
1. On media reports that Cambodia has agreed with Indonesia’s proposals for the meetings of the GBC and the JBC to be held in Indonesia on 24-25 March 2011, Thailand welcomes Cambodia’s readiness to attend the said meetings as it has all along been trying to convene bilateral negotiations with Cambodia. In addition, the next meeting of the GBC, co-chaired by the Defence Ministers of Thailand and Cambodia, would provide a good opportunity for the two countries to discuss the terms of reference of the Indonesian observer missions to be sent to their respective sides of the border. Thailand, therefore, has no objection to the proposed GBC meeting, although details with regard to the dates, venue and appropriate engagement of Indonesia remain matters to be discussed further. It is noted that at this juncture Cambodia has proposed that Indonesia attend the opening ceremony, and that, after the conclusion of the said meeting, both countries would share its outcome with Indonesia.
2. Thailand is also ready to attend the JBC meeting, as proposed by Indonesia, as it has consistently been Thailand’s wish to have JBC meet at the earliest opportunity. It may be recalled that the Thai Foreign Minister had proposed to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Ministry and International Cooperation of Cambodia as early as 5 February 2011, to hold the JBC meeting within the month of February 2011 – a proposal which Cambodia had first agreed to in principle before subsequently changing its position. The Informal Meeting of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers had also called on Thailand and Cambodia to convene their bilateral negotiations, including the JBC, the GBC and other existing mechanisms, at the earliest possible opportunity, with appropriate engagement of Indonesia. However, it had been the Cambodian side which maintained that the three draft agreed minutes of the previous JBC meetings be approved by the Thai Parliament first before the said meeting could be convened. In this regard, it should be noted that the parliamentary sub-committee tasked with considering the three agreed minutes had finalized its work and submitted its findings to Parliament for consideration. It is expected that this matter would be put on the Parliament’s agenda within March.