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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Indonesia talks yield little border progress

Indonesia talks yield little border progress

Cambodia and Thailand failed to reach any agreement about bringing Indonesian military observers to the border near Preah Vihear or the broader issues related to the boundary during two days of talks in Bogor over the weekend, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said yesterday.

Speaking to reporters at Phnom Penh International Airport after returning from Indonesia yesterday, Hor Namhong said his Thai counterpart Kasit Piromya did not show up at the scheduled Joint Border Committee meeting, and there was no progress in the talks.

“We only reached one agreement, the opening of a new border gate, Stung Bot [in O’Chrov district, Banteay Meanchey province],” he said. “If Thailand is willing the matter will be solved soon.”

Hor Namhong said two other items were discussed – the locations for border posts 1 to 23 and an aerial map of the border – but the Thai delegation declined to reach an agreement, saying they had to wait for approval from parliament.

The two foreign ministers met briefly with Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa on the sidelines of the Asean-Japan meeting. Hor Namhong said Natalegawa urged Kasit to make a decision about the deployment of unarmed observers as soon as possible.

“The Thai Foreign Minister sat and nodded his head and didn’t speak even a word, and I don’t know whether he’s nodding his head in agreement or if he has no right to say anything,” Hor Namhong said.

“I didn’t talk much at that time. I just told them that Cambodia had conceded at the maximum level, so there is no more concession.”

Thailand has said it does not want Indonesia, the current chair of ASEAN, to play a role in negotiating what it has said is a bilateral issue.  

A meeting of the General Border Committee, which negotiates security-related issues, was cancelled after Thai Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said he would not agree to the meeting in a third country. The meetings follow deadly fighting in February that left at least 10 dead.



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