Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Thai Defence Minister ready for truce talks: local reports

via CAAI


BANGKOK, April 27 (Xinhua) -- Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon would be open to having talks on ceasefire with his Cambodian counterpart Tea Banh after he returns from a visit to China, Bangkok Post online quoted his secretary as saying on Wednesday.

Gen. Noppadol Inthapanya said Gen. Prawit left for China on Wednesday morning for a visit at the invitation of the Chinese defence minister issued during his visit to Thailand several months ago.

The China trip had long been planned and could not be postponed, he said.

"In fact, Gen. Prawit did not have an appointment to meet Gen Tea Banh on Wednesday, May 27, when he was scheduled to leave for China. However, Gen. Prawit said that on his return from China on Saturday he would seek a meeting with Gen Tea Banh provided that the situation has returned to normal," Gen. Noppadol said.

Gen. Prawit earlier planned to hold talks with his Cambodian counterpart on Wednesday but it was later postponed.

The army spokesman Col. Sansern Kaewkamnerd, however, said that the reason behind the postponement was due to some Cambodia media reports saying Thailand admitted defeat as the country agreed on truce talks. Moreover, the defence minister would wait for a few days to see Phnom Penh's sincerity before he would re-schedule the meeting.

Gen Noppadol said that by holding talks with Gen. Tea Banh did not mean Thailand admitted defeat but the defence minister was firm about solving the problem through bilateral mechanisms.

Ceasefire talks was raised Tuesday evening after the border fighting between the two countries had continued for five straight days since April 22, leaving at least a dozen of soldiers and civilians on both sides dead. Some 27,000 Thais living along the border near clash zone were evacuated to makeshift camps while about 23,000 Cambodian were forced to flee their houses.

Editor: Zhang Xiang