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FMs propose ASEAN help with border row

FMs propose ASEAN help with border row

091013_03
Members of People’s Alliance for Democracy fight with Thai villagers during a protest at Preah Vihear temple last month. Cambodia and Thailand have expressed interest in taking the border dispute to ASEAN.

Hor Namhong to raise issue at coming summit.

[Neutral Asean] may provide an avenue for Thailand and Cambodia to settle the dispute.

MINISTER of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong wrote to his Thai counterpart on Monday to propose that the ongoing border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia be placed on the agenda for this month’s ASEAN summit.

Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya was quoted last week by the Bangkok Post newspaper as saying that at the ASEAN summit to be held from October 23 to 25 in the Thai resort town of Hua Hin, he would seek ASEAN’s approval in establishing a “neutral organisation” that “may provide an avenue for Thailand and Cambodia to settle the dispute” over their shared border near the Preah Vihear temple complex.

In a letter to Kasit dated Monday, Hor Namhong cited the Bangkok Post article in echoing his support for raising the border issue in Hua Hin.

Copies of the letter were also sent to the bloc’s secretary general, Surin Pitsuwan, and to the other foreign ministers of ASEAN nations.

Cambodia and Thailand have been working bilaterally to demarcate their border under the auspices of the Joint Border Commission.

Tensions rose at the border last month when 5,000 yellow-shirted protesters from the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) converged on Thailand’s Sisaket province to protest their government’s inaction regarding the border issue, saying that Cambodia had infringed on a 4.6-square-kilometre disputed area surrounding Preah Vihear temple.

Cambodian troops stationed at the border said Monday, however, that the situation there remains calm.

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