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Border talks set for Monday: Thai PM

Border talks set for Monday: Thai PM

BANGKOK - Thailand and Cambodia will resume high-level talks to try to resolve a military standoff on their border on July 28, Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej has said.

“I talked with Prime Minister Hun Sen a while ago and we agreed that our foreign ministers will hold a meeting in Siem Reap on July 28,” Samak told reporters, speaking on July 24.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen also told me that he will withdraw the issue from the United Nations.”

Cambodian officials said they had requested that the UN Security Council to intervene in the issue but later said they would ask that no action be taken pending next week’s talks.

ASEAN leaders called Cambodia’s complaint to the UN “premature” and urged the two sides to try to resolve the dispute between themselves.

“That idea found favor among many countries, but there was no consensus and Thailand said they should be given more time to work the bilateral approach,” said Singaporean Foreign Minister George Yeo, speaking at a meeting of ASEAN ministers being held in Singapore.

“There is a view that this may be a little premature.”

He said the dispute “should come back to ASEAN and both sides will be asked to pursue bilateral efforts first.”

Intense international interest on the dispute “will act as a restraint on the extremists on both sides to act in a responsible way,” Yeo added.

Talks aimed at resolving the crisis collpased on July 21 after Thailand insisted on using its own map to define the border between the two countries, raising fears that the crisis could erupt in violence amid the massive troop build-up.

Samak said he will have to appoint a new foreign minister ahead of the talks.

His previous foreign minister, Noppadon Pattama, was forced to resign earlier this month over the furor surrounding the temple.

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