Thursday, 5 May 2011

Indonesia still hopes for talks

via CAAI

Published: 5/05/2011 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: News

JAKARTA : Indonesia remains positive that Thailand and Cambodia will resume talks on their border dispute, either bilaterally or with Jakarta's presence, says the country's foreign minister.

Indonesia's efforts to help broker talks between the two countries failed after the Thai military refused to attend a General Border Committee meeting, and opposed the terms of reference for the deployment of Indonesian observers in the disputed areas along the Thai-Cambodian border.

"I'm not pessimistic about the conclusion of the ToR," Indonesian foreign minister Marty Natalegawa said.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the Asean Civil Society Conference and the Asean People's Forum.

Mr Marty said he looked forward to talking to his Thai and Cambodian counterparts during the Asean summit. The two sides could meet, but he could not say if a meeting would include him as a third party.

Diplomatic sources said that Indonesia's global status was tested recently when the US backed India's role in global peace-building and security-making, an area for which Indonesia has been pitching itself globally. The stalled Jakarta-chaired Thai-Cambodian dialogue dealt another blow to Indonesia's stature.

Indonesia in February succeeded initially in getting Asean to help tackle the border conflict and later on in hosting the Thai-Cambodian joint boundary committee meeting.

But Cambodia's move last week to petition the UN Security Council and the International Court of Justice to intervene in the border fight bypassed and undermined the role of Asean, and particularly Indonesia, in bringing and end to the conflict, the sources said.

They predicted the foreign ministers of the two sides would eventually meet, while Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen might wait to meet the future prime minister of Thailand after the national election in June.

Meanwhile, Ngin Saorath, executive director of the Cambodian Disabled Peoples' Organisation, said he was disappointed that border clashes continued.

"I grew up during the Pol Pot regime. We are fed up with wars. There should be no more war, either internally or with neighbours," said the 40-year-old disabled, a native of Ta Kaew province.

He did not believe the Thai border conflict would benefit the Hun Sen administration politically at home.

"Prime Minister Hun Sen has been in power for a long uninterrupted period. He has a good grip on power and he does not need to wage war to strengthen his status," Mr Saorath said.

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