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PM likely to raise border issue at summit in private: minister

PM likely to raise border issue at summit in private: minister

CAMBODIA will not raise its border dispute with Thailand during public meetings at the upcoming ASEAN summit in Hua Hin, Thailand, though Prime Minister Hun Sen is likely to raise the issue at the summit during private meetings with other ASEAN heads of state, Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said Saturday.

“Personally, I think Samdech Hun Sen will raise this issue [in Hua Hin],” Hor Namhong told reporters at Phnom Penh International Airport on Saturday following his trip to China with a delegation lead by the prime minister.

Cambodia and Thailand have been working bilaterally to demarcate their border under the auspices of the Joint Border Commission. On October 8, however, the Bangkok Post ran a story in which Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya proposed making a “neutral organisation” to resolve disputes between ASEAN members.

On October 12, Hor Namhong wrote a letter to Kasit in which, citing the Bangkok Post article, proposing that the dispute over the land surrounding Preah Vihear temple be included on ASEAN’s agenda for the Hua Hin summit, scheduled to take place from October 23 to 25.

In response to this letter, however, Kasit wrote to Hor Namhong to reiterate Thailand’s support for bilateral talks, saying that the Bangkok Post had misquoted him.

“The most important point that we should remind ourselves is that we should avoid raising bilateral issues within the ASEAN framework,” the Thai foreign minister wrote. “Otherwise, we would be setting a dangerous precedent for ASEAN and future ASEAN summits.”

On Saturday, though, Hor Namhong reflected on the protracted state of the bilateral talks.

“This is a very complicated matter,” he said. “We have met many times to discuss it, but have yet to reach an agreement.”

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