Web Editor: haodi
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Sunday said ASEAN will not interfere with any substance of negotiation between Thailand and Cambodia on their border dispute.
"I would like to stress that the position of ASEAN, as we have been following, is it will not interfere with any substance that we will talk to Cambodia," Abhisit said in his weekly national televised address.
The premier said the United Nations Security Council, which met on the Thai-Cambodian border dispute last Monday, was of the view that the two countries should talk to each other with ASEAN, or the Association of South East Asian Nations, acting as the facilitator or coordinator.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, as the current ASEAN chair, has called a meeting of the regional grouping's foreign ministers on Feb. 22 in Jakarta to discuss the issue.
Abhisit has repeatedly said that the border dispute was a bilateral issue and should be solved through the existing mechanism between the two nations.
The premier also said UNESCO now seemed to share Thailand's view that the organization should not proceed with any decision on the administering plan of a disputed 4.6-square-kilometer area around the 11th century Preah Vihear temple as Thailand and Cambodia both claim sovereignty over the area.
He said he talked to UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova over the phone last week to explain Thailand's position on the issue.
Abhsit said Ms. Bokova seemed to understand that any implementation of the administering plan, while there was still a border dispute, "could not proceed."
UNESCO's World Heritage committee is scheduled to discuss the administering plan, as proposed by Cambodia, in June this year.
Abhisit said instead of holding any discussion on the plan, UNESCO, or the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, should let Thailand and Cambodia negotiate bilaterally on their border demarcation first, and suspend any proceeding in regarding to the Preah Vihear temple.
Phnom Penh unilaterally has the temple enlisted as a World Heritage site on July 7, 2008.