Thai-Cambodia border meeting fails to meet breakthrough, but both promise no force
www.chinaview.cn 2008-07-21 22:25:37   Print

    by Zhang Qiulai

    BANGKOK, July 21 (Xinhua) -- The special meeting of the Thai-Cambodian General Border Committee (GBC) concluded Monday evening with both Thailand and Cambodia agreed not to use force to settle their dispute over the borderline near Preah Vihear Temple.

    The meeting started Monday morning in Thailand's eastern border province of Sa Kaew was called as the military stand off near Preah Vihear Temple reached the six days. Both countries deployed troops and weapons to a plot of 4.6 square kilometer near the temple. The Thai side claimed that the areas are overlapping zones while Cambodia claimed it is in its territory.

The special meeting of the Thai-Cambodian General Border Committee (GBC) concluded Monday evening with both Thailand and Cambodia agreed not to use force to settle their dispute over the borderline near Preah Vihear Temple.

Cambodian military police patrol Preah Vihear temple, 245 km (152 miles) north of Phnom Penh, July 21, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
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    Thai Supreme Commander Gen Boonsang Niempradit and Cambodia's Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Gen Tea Banh who chaired the special meeting emerged at a press conference after nearly eight hours of meeting.

    But, the meeting failed to reach any breakthrough, according to local newspaper the Nation's website.

    Boonsrang was quoted as saying that the two sides were unable to solve the legal issues involved in the controversy over the temple' s compound, parts of which are claimed by both Thailand and Cambodia.

The special meeting of the Thai-Cambodian General Border Committee (GBC) concluded Monday evening with both Thailand and Cambodia agreed not to use force to settle their dispute over the borderline near Preah Vihear Temple.

Cambodian Buddhist monks take a photo with an old gun at Preah Vihear temple, 245 km (152 miles) north of Phnom Penh, July 21, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
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    "We will need to consult the government on the law," Boonsrang told a press conference after the lengthy meeting.

    Both countries will remain the number of their troops and weapons there and will order their troops not to use forces in the area, he said.

    Both Boonsang and Tea Banh cited legislation and legal technicalities as obstacles in reaching any agreement on the issue.

    Tea Banh told reporters that both sides tried to lower down the degree of tension during the meeting but failed due to the legislation and legal technicalities.

    Tea Banh and Boonsrang said they will forward the outcome of the meeting to their prime ministers for consideration.

    Earlier, Boonsang said before the meeting that he could not yet say whether the Thai troops stationed near Preah Vihear will be withdrawn as requested by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen last week in a diplomatic note sent to his Thai counterpart.

    "It is better to wait for the outcome of the meeting first," Boonsang said, noting that the Thai military will not employ violence to solve this problem.

    He later told local media that "Thailand would offer reasonable proposals to the Cambodian side to consider in order to reduce tensions."

    "It is expected that the Cambodian side would agree to the proposals," he said, expressing hope that his negotiations would be conducted within the good relations existing between Thailand and Cambodia.

    "Also, the talks are expected to become a vital mechanism in solving the border problem at Thailand's Si Sa Ket Province and at Preah Vihear Province of Cambodia," Boonsang said.

    The military standoff between Cambodia and Thailand entered its seventh day on Monday. Both countries historically laid claim to the 11th century temple, which now sits on Cambodian soil following the action of the International Court of Justice which awarded the ancient temple to Cambodia in 1962. However, the temple can practicably only be accessed from Thailand.

    However, the exact demarcation of the border around the ruins remains in contention.

    The security situation around the temple deteriorated after three Thais, including a Buddhist monk, were briefly detained by Cambodian soldiers after crossing into the disputed border area on Tuesday. The trio were released the same day but refused to leave the 4.6 square kilometer disputed area adjoining the temple complex.

    Thailand first issued a warning that travel to the vicinity of the temple be avoided, but later closed off access altogether within 10 kilometers of the temple. 

Cambodia turns down Thai request to review border lines

    PHNOM PENH, July 21 (Xinhua) -- The Cambodian side Monday turned down the Thai side's request to review the border lines, during the meeting of the General Border Committee (GBC) between both countries held in Thai province of Sa Kaew, said a senior Cambodian official.

    "We had good negotiation with the Thai side. We agreed with each other on one point and another, but the Cambodian side didn't agree the Thai side's request to review the border lines with us. We already had border lines with the Thai side according to the treaties signed by France and Thailand in 1904 and 1907. It was international border," said Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense Tea Banh at a press conference held at the Poit Pet town of Cambodia near the border upon his arrival at homeland. Full story

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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