Pattaya Daily News

14 October 2008 :: 17:10:21 pm 41157

Thai Surprise at Cambodia’s Ultimatum On Border Disputes

BANGKOK, Oct 14 - Thailand was taken by surprise by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen‘s remarks related to the border disputes between the two countries when he issued an ultimatum to Thailand to withdraw its troops from a disputed area near the ancient Khmer Preah Vihear temple by midday Tuesday (October 14), according to the Thai foreign ministry spokesman.
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In response to questions from the media, Director-General Tharit Charungvat of the Department of Information of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that Thailand is surprised by the remarks by the prime minister of Cambodia issuing an ultimatum to Thailand to move its military personnel out of the area adjacent to the Temple of Preah Vihear temple and threatening the use of force.

Mr. Tharit said the threatened Cambodian action is counter to the spirit of neighbourliness and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), especially between fellow ASEAN member countries. It also contradicts international norms of settling bilateral issues peacefully, as enshrined in the United Nations Charter, he said.

Mr. Tharit said Thailand has always tried to resolve its boundary issues with Cambodia peacefully through bilateral negotiations which have achieved satisfactory progress thus far.

In this connection, the military of both sides have agreed to convene a special meeting of the Regional Border Committee (RBC) next Tuesday (October 21), preceded by a working level meeting on Wednesday (October 15).

Under its Ottawa Convention obligations regarding land mines, Thailand has been demining the area adjacent to Preah Vihear an area to be surveyed and demarcated by the Thai-Cambodian Joint Commission on Demarcation for Land Boundary (JBC), set up under a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries in 2000.

De-mining there, he said, was a necessary and urgent issue for ensuring the safety of visitors, local residents and military personnel who pass through the area.

The urgency of the issue was underscored when two Thai paramilitary rangers lost their legs after stepping on landmines in the area on October 5 in Thai territory as demarcated in the Franco-Siamese Treaty of 1904. He said Thailand is now investigating whether the landmines in the area are old mines or recently deployed in violation of the Ottawa Mine Ban Convention.

“If Cambodia does resort to the use of force in accordance with its so-called ultimatum, Thailand will have to exercise its right of self-defence as provided for under the Charter of the United Nations, in order to protect our de-mining personnel and Thailand’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.

Thailand has always called for and remains committed to resolving its boundary issues with Cambodia peacefully through bilateral consultations under the many frameworks already in place, Mr. Tharit said.

As agreed by the Thai and Cambodian foreign ministers meeting in Siem Reap and Cha-am on July 28 and August 19, he said, both countries committed to exercise “utmost restraint” to avoid any armed confrontation.

This was reaffirmed by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sompong Amornvivat to the Cambodian side during his visit there on Monday (October 13).

Thailand has strictly observed all commitments and agreements and expects Cambodia to do the same, he said. (TNA)

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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