Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Singapore supports Indonesia in Thailand-Cambodia talks

via CAAI

Jakarta, April 26 (ANTARA) - Singapore through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed support to Indonesia for its effort as the ASEAN chair to facilitate constructive dialogue between Thailand and Cambodia, a press release from the country`s embassy in Jakarta said.

"It is important for both countries to work closely with Indonesia, as the ASEAN Chair, in implementing the agreements reached during the Informal ASEAN Foreign Affairs Ministers` Meeting on February 22, 2011," the statement said.

In the statement, Singapore also hoped that a peace agreement between Thailand and Cambodia can be reached by the time the 18th ASEAN Summit takes place on May 7 and 8, 2011.

Earlier, Xinhua reported 30,000 Thai residents have withdrawn from the Thai-Cambodia border area since the latest border clashes between Thailand and Cambodia. Meanwhile, from Cambodia`s side, 4,285 Cambodian families of 17,200 people have been evacuated from their homes near the border area.

During the armed clashes, six Cambodian soldiers were killed and 16 others injured. While on the Thai side, four soldiers were killed and 17 others injured, according to a report from Bangkok.

The border between Thailand and Cambodia has never been completely demarcated. The conflict is triggered by the 4.6 square kilometers of land near the Preah Vihear temple in the Thai-Cambodia border area. Cambodia`s Preah Vihear temple was enlisted as a World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008. But Thailand claims the ownership of 4.6 sq km of scrub next to the temple. Just a week after the enlistment, Cambodia and Thailand had a border conflict, triggering a military build-up along the border, and periodic clashes between Cambodian and Thai soldiers have resulted in deaths on both sides.

Meanwhile Indonesia`s Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa said there was significant progress in communication between Thailand and Cambodia after the recent border incident.

"Over the last three days since Friday (April 22), we have conducted intensive consultation with the foreign ministers of Thailand and Cambodia on developments in the settlement of their border dispute," Marty said after attending a limited cabinet meeting at the presidential office on Monday (April 25).

In the intensive consultation, it was agreed to hold a direct meeting of the three foreign ministers, he said.

"It`s possible that a direct meeting among the three of us will be held, but it has not yet been decided where and when, the important thing is there is continuing communication," Marty said.

He added that "the message remains the same, namely the governments of Thailand and Cambodia must immediately declare a ceasefire because what is happening is unacceptable."

"Diplomacy has been carried out continuously, Indonesia nationally and as the chairman of ASEAN, will continue helping solve the problem. Of course, it needs good will and cooperation from both parties, Thailand and Cambodia need to prioritize diplomacy not violence," he said. (ANTARA)

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