Sunday, 8 May 2011

Border issues affect ASEAN credibility: leaders of Thailand, Cambodia

via CAAI

JAKARTA, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen both said here Saturday that their border issues affect ASEAN's credibility.

Hun Sen said, in his speech at the first session of the ongoing 18th ASEAN Summit, that the border conflicts between the two countries "not only affect peace and security in the region, but also create serious challenges for ASEAN in our pursuit towards the ASEAN Community in 2015."

He also appeals to the regional bloc to establish a mediation mechanism for the settlement of the dispute.

His remarks were echoed by Abhisit, who said, "Thailand recognizes full well that any conflict between ASEAN member states can undermine ASEAN's community-building efforts."

Meanwhile, both of the leaders respectively expressed that they have no intention of engaging in conflicts.

Hun Sen said his country's priority is to reduce poverty and achieve development and prosperity. "Therefore, Cambodia has neither reason nor interest to invade or create incidents with her neighbors," he said.

The Thai prime minister said, "I can categorically state that Thailand has no intention whatsoever to engage in any conflict with neighbors and countries in the region." What he doesn't agree is that "any problem must be solved locally, bilaterally."

This is a response to Cambodia's attempt to seek international facilitation of the settlement. Cambodia submitted a request to the International Court of Justice for interpretation of the 1962 Judgment on the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple, which stands near the disputed border.

Thai side also requires Cambodia to withdraw its troops and residents from the disputed area before the terms of reference ( TOR) for deployment of observers is formalized.

The requirement is rejected by Cambodia. "This condition is irrational and unacceptable," Hun Sen said.

The two countries have agreed on the deployment of Indonesian observer team to monitor cease-fire. But Thailand has not formally submitted its acceptance letter, according to Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa.

Editor: Fang Yang

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