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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Observers' boundaries set

Observers' boundaries set

Indonesia's foreign minister has said that unarmed observers from his country, set to monitor the border conflict ceasefire, will not be sent into land claimed by both Cambodia and Thailand.

The Bangkok Post reported yesterday that Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said that military observers will not enter the 4.6-square-kilometre area near to Preah Vihear Temple.

Observers will also follow any recommendations made by Thailand and will not undertake any action perceived to violate Thai sovereignty, the newspaper stated.

Thailand was said to have reiterated that Indonesian observers must be unarmed, be considered members of a diplomatic mission, and would not be allowed into the joint-claim area. Speaking in Bangkok, Marty Natalegawa said the decision was made after a sidelines meeting with the Thai foreign minister Kasit Piromya at the Special ASEAN-Japan Meeting on giving assistance to Japan, held in Jakarta last week.

Indonesia also hosted talks of the Cambodian-Thai Joint Border Committee last week, which Kasit Piromya did not attend. Thai military officials also boycotted scheduled talks of the countries’ General Border Committee, which deals with security issues.

Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said Sunday that little progress had been made in Indonesia and the Kingdom had “conceded at the maximum level” in regard to the deployment on observers.

He said that his Thai counterpart “didn’t speak a word” during sideline talks about their deployment. Phnom Penh and Bangkok agreed in February to allow unarmed military observers to monitor the ceasefire, after deadly fighting left at least 10 dead.

Koy Kuong, spokesman for Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said yesterday that Cambodia had already outlined its terms of reference for the observers three times – allowing them access to all of Cambodian soil.

He said Indonesia has accepted the plans and that the government of Phnom Penh would keep to its stance regarding the observers.

“I don’t know what Indonesia discussed with Thailand on this issue,” Koy Kuong said.

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