Thursday, 24 March 2011

Thailand rejects Indonesian observers in disputed border area

via CAAI

23 March 2011
BY: BNO News

BANGKOK, THAILAND (BNO NEWS) -- Thailand on Wednesday rejected allowing the entrance of Indonesian observers in the disputed area on the Thai-Cambodian border, the Bangkok Post reported.

Thai Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said that the decision was made by Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwon as Thailand intends to solve the conflict with Cambodia without outside involvement.

Both countries have disputed the 4.6 square kilometer area near the ancient Preah Vihear temple on the Thai-Cambodian border. Cambodia requested Indonesian observers to mediate in the conflict.

"Regardless of where the observers are from, we don't want them. Thailand and Cambodia, can reach a settlement through negotiations, especially between the soldiers," said Prayuth.

General Prayuth said that if the Cambodia government insisted in having foreign observers, they should be allowed to perform their duty outside the disputed border area.

According to the Army chief, the Thai Foreign Ministry submitted a proposal to Cambodia to establish joint checkpoints in the disputed area as well as a coordination center to monitor the operation.

However, Prayuth remarked that the checkpoints and the center must be operated by Thai and Cambodian soldiers only. The General Border Committee, chaired by Thai and Cambodian defense ministers, is scheduled to meet in April to discuss the proposal.

Tensions first escalated between the two countries in July 2008 following the build-up of military forces near the Preah Vihear temple. The United Nations Security Council urged both sides to establish a permanent ceasefire after at least 10 people were killed.

Clashes resumed in February as both nations claim the lands surrounding the Hindu Temple of Preah Vihear. The border conflict has damaged the temple which dates back to the 11th century and is located on the Cambodian side of the border. UNESCO sent a mission to asses the situation.

In 2008, the Preah Vihear temple was inscribed on the World Heritage List in recognition of its outstanding universal value. It is considered an outstanding example of Khmer architecture and consists of a complex of sanctuaries linked by pavements and staircases on an 800-metre-long axis.

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