Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Observers at border territory still needed

Observers at border territory still needed

Observers at border territory still needed

120723_06
Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong speaks in Phnom Penh on Friday. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia and Thailand remain committed to the deployment of independent observers at the disputed Preah Vihear border despite comments from a Thai general suggesting they may not be necessary, the respective foreign ministries said.

On Saturday, the Bangkok Post quoted Thai military supreme commander General Thanasak Patimapakorn saying his Indonesian counterpart had dismissed the necessity for his country to provide observers.

“Indonesia considers that if the two countries can talk, they will have no need to come in, and this is also the two nations’ stance,” General Thanasak reportedly said.

A source from the Indonesian Embassy in Phnom Penh said the country would only intervene if both sides agreed that observers should be deployed in the 17.3-square-kilometre Provisional Demilitarized Zone surrounding the disputed 11th-century temple.

“If both governments do not agree, we will not come in. So the ball is in the Thai government’s court,” the source said.

Thai Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Thani Thongpakdee said his ministry and the defence ministry remain committed to implementing the observers, and the country is continuing to negotiate terms of reference with Cambodia to do so.

“Once we come up with an agreement upon the terms of reference, that will be submitted to the Thai cabinet and subsequently will be submitted for parliamentary approval,” he said.

Cambodian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said Cambodia remains committed to implementing the International Court of Justice’s July 18, 2011, ruling that both countries must withdraw troops from the PDZ so independent observers can be deployed.

“So for Cambodia’s part, we always agree about the terms of reference. For the Cambodian side, there’s no problem,” he said.

Separately, Cambodian For­eign Minister and current ASEAN chair Hor Namhong on Friday released a statement from the 10-country bloc on the controversial issue of the South China Sea, following criticisms of how Cambodia approached the dispute while hosting the recent ASEAN Regional Forum.

The statement reaffirmed the commitment of ASEAN foreign ministers to “the early conclusion of a Regional Code of Conduct”, negotiations over which saw the Philippines and Vietnam at loggerheads with Cambodia and China during the summit.

To contact the reporters on this story: David Boyle at [email protected]
Vong Sokheng at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh