Friday, February 27, 2009

Cambodia, Thailand affirm commitments to solve border issue

Cambodia and Thailand reaffirmed Monday to solve their six-month-old border conflict peacefully and amicably, without setting a deadline.
After a one-and-a-half-hour meeting in Phnom Penh with his Thai counterpart, Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told reporters that border issues are often complicated and not easily solved, thus time and patience are needed.
However, he warned that Cambodia still reserves the right to seek the intervention of a third party such as the international court if bilateral negotiations fail. Echoing the remarks, Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said he hopes the similar culture and tradition enjoyed by the two countries plus commitments taken by the new Thai government will help resolve the problems. Hor Namhong said both governments had scheduled a meeting of a joint border committee for Feb. 2-4, followed by a defense ministerial-level meeting on Feb. 6 on redeployment of troops at Keo Sikhakiri Svara Pagoda and the area near Cambodia 's ancient Preah Vihear temple.
The area around Preah Vihear temple, which was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in July last year, was the scene of a tense standoff between Cambodian and Thai armed forces in recent months. The Cambodian government insists that Thai troops have deployed on Cambodian soil, while Thailand says its troops are only in a disputed zone.
According to military sources based at Preah Vihear temple, there remain about a dozen Thai soldiers at Keo Sikhakiri Svara Pagoda. The territorial dispute stems partly from the use of different border maps. Kasit is on a two-day visit to Cambodia , his first since he came to office last month. He is to return to Thailand later Monday.
KyodoJanuary 26, 2009

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