Thursday, 28 April 2011

House panel warns about risk of war

via CAAI

Published: 28/04/2011 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: News

The House committee on foreign affairs yesterday warned the government against escalating the Thai-Cambodian border conflict to the point where it could become a state of war.

The chance of war breaking out was discussed in parliament.

Committee chairman and Pheu Thai MP for Udon Thani Tophong Chaiyasan said he did not understand why the lower House raised the issue of a "war announcement" for discussion.

The committee was worried the current confrontation would escalate and prompt one of the two countries to declare war.

It called on Bangkok and Phnom Penh to return to the negotiating table to solve the long-running dispute.

The request is part of the committee's eight-point announcement unveiled after it met Foreign Ministry officials and representatives from the army.

All of its points called on all parties, including soldiers and reporters, not to further expand the conflict, which has already resulted in heavy fighting since last Friday.

The committee accepted international calls for a ceasefire between the two countries after the Thai army said it needed to strike back against Cambodian troops who allegedly first opened fire at Thai soldiers at the Ta Kwai temple near the border in Surin province.

Phnom Penh was using every possible means to bring peace talks to a multi-lateral level, especially in the United Nations Security Council, Mr Tophong said.

He warned the move could benefit Cambodia because France, which has a good relationship with Cambodia, will assume the presidency of the Security Council next month."The president can guide the result of the talks, so Thailand too should seek an ally, especially China," Mr Tophong suggested.

He did not think China would want to see an armed conflict in the region.

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