Feb 15, 2011


Thai Prime Minister: Border tension will ease

  • Feb 15, 2011
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  • 15/02/2011
    Bangkok Post

    Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is confident the UN Security Council’s decision will push Cambodia to return to the negotiating table with Thailand over the border dispute and this will cool down the conflict.

    Speaking before the weekly cabinet meeting, Mr Abhisit said on Tuesday that the UNSC wanted the two sides to exercise maximum restraint and avoid any armed clashes.

    It gave support to the Association of Southeast Asia Nations' (Asean) efforts to seek a settlement through negotiations.

    ‘’It’s clearly shown that the world community wants the border dispute to be solved through negotiations.

    "Cambodia may have no excuse to deny this and will return to the negotiating table with Thailand,’’ said Mr Abhisit, who was in a cheerful mood after being briefed by Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya on the UNSC’s call for a permanent ceasefire between the two countries.

    The UNSC made the call after being briefed during a closed door session by the foreign ministers of Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia, the current Asean chairman). The council said it would not intervene in the border dispute at this time.

    Mr Abhisit said he expects Asean will use the foreign ministerial meeting scheduled for Feb 22 in Jakarta to mediate talks between the two countries.

    He believed the UNSC's resolution will help ease the tension along the Thai-Cambodian border. He stood firm on his earlier statements that Thailand had not started the fighting. Bangkok wanted everything to be settled through the bilateral framework.

    Asked if he thought the Cambodian foreign minister would attend the Jakarta meeting, Mr Abhisit said he thought Cambodia would listen to the UNSC’s views as it had brought the matter to the council’s attention.

    There would be no other forum where the two countries could settle their conflict if Cambodia ignored the UN's call. He was confident Cambodia would hold talks with Thailand on border demarcation.

    Cambodia had earlier shut the door on Thailand’s attempts to solve the border dispute with a Joint Border Boundary Commission meeting. It called for the UNSC and third countries to intervene to solve the border conflict.

    Thailand and Cambodia blamed each other for the crisis, which left at least 10 dead, including seven Cambodians, in border clashes which began on Feb 4.

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