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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        9  February 2011

Thai government rejects UN intervention

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Thailand has rejected United Nations intervention in the Cambodian border dispute, saying it is not a failed state and therefore can handle the issue itself through bilateral talks.

Foreign Ministry officials yesterday reaffirmed the country's belief in a bilateral approach and rejected calls by Phnom Penh to involve outside agencies.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva meanwhile telephoned UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon last night to clarify the facts about the clashes.

Details of their conversation were not released, but earlier he said he would tell Mr. Ban that Thailand had not attacked Cambodia or its civilians.

Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said he spoke with his Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhong yesterday and they agreed to holds talks in a third country.

After being approached by Phnom Penh, the UN Security Council said it would be willing to hold a meeting to discuss the conflict.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said in Bangkok yesterday he had received clear messages from Thailand and Cambodia that both countries would find a peaceful solution to the problem.

Mr. Natalegawa met with Mr. Kasit for 40 minutes yesterday to discuss the conflict on the last leg of his two-nation tour to Cambodia and Thailand to help end the conflict.

Mr. Natalegawa said Indonesia, as chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, was encouraging Bangkok and Phnom Penh to solve all of their border problems through bilateral mechanisms.

He said he believed there was space for Asean and its members to support the bilateral efforts of the two countries to resolve the conflict.

"Any engagement by Asean and by any individual country is not to replace the bilateral approach. On the contrary, it is to support it," he said.

Mr. Kasit said Mr. Natalegawa asked how Asean could support the two countries in restoring peace and prosperity to the grouping.

He said he had also talked with Hor Namhong on the telephone yesterday afternoon and they agreed to hold talks in a third country to find a solution to the border row.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdee said Thailand and Cambodia would try to settle the dispute when they meet later this month at the Joint Boundary Commission (JBC).

The border fighting between Thai and Cambodian soldiers ended on Monday. The ICJ ruled in 1962 that Preah Vihear temple was in Cambodian territory and Thailand was obliged to withdraw its troops around the temple, she said.

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