Wednesday, August 18, 2010

PM Calls for International Conference to Solve Border Issues

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, has called for the meeting of the international conference to help resolve Preah Vihear Temple’s areas dispute, saying that bilateral approach between the two countries has broken down.

The Prime Minister said that Cambodia-Thai Preah Vihear Temple border dispute may reach bloodshed, saying that only an international conference, with the participation of the ASEAN country member countries, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), all other countries and the 19 Signatory member Counties to the Paris Pease Accord, can help to resolve the border issue.

“I think that now the use of any bilateral mechanism to resolve Preah Vihear border issue has broken down and cannot work anymore. Therefore, I am appealing for a multilateral participation from ASEAN, the UN Security Council, all other countries and the signatories to the Paris Peace Accords to help resolve the border dispute between Cambodia and Thailand,” he told government officials at a ceremony early this week.

Prime Minister said that Preah Vihear Temple is the hottest issue, not a laughing matter and can also reach bloodshed. The Prime Minister warned that any attempt by Thai troops to evict Cambodian troops from the 4.6 square kilometers of Preah Vihear Temple’s land will result in bloodshed.

“It is true that Cambodia is weak, Cambodia is small, but an ant will not let an elephant sleep peacefully and no one in this world has a steel-plated head and if you invade, we will fight, but fight inside our territory,” he said.

Besides calling for the meeting of international conference over Preah Vihear border issue, Samdech Hun Sen said that he will also ask United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to help mediate talks between Cambodia and Thailand over Preah Vihear border dispute. He stated that he will raise this issue with Mr. Ban Ki-moon during his official visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia on October 27-28, 2010.

“We will request the United Nations Secretary-General to be the coordinator for Cambodia-Thai Preah Vihear Border issue during his visit in Cambodia,” he said.

It is noted that Samdech Techo Hun Sen’s appeal was followed by Thailand’s Prime Minister Minister Abhisit Vejjajeva’s threat to cancel the 2000 MoU and to use force to evict Cambodian civilians and troops from the 4.6 square kilometers of land surrounding Preah Vihear Temple.

In response to the Thai Prime Minister Abhisit’s threat, on August 8th Samdech Hun Sen sent two official letters to the Chief of the UN Security Council accusing Thailand of violating the UN Charter and bilateral agreements with Cambodia, saying Cambodia will defend its territory at any cost.

“Cambodia will not use force to invade any countries, but Cambodia reserves the rights to use force to defend its territories. Cambodia never knew about the 4.6 square kilometers of overlapping area, there is no overlapping area. And if (Thailand) wants to use force to evict us from the area, please try!” said Prime Minister.

In his letter sending to the UN Security Council, Samdech Techo Hun Sen has drawn the attention to the UN Security Council to the fact that Preah Vihear Temple issue had been settled once and for all by the Franco-Siamese Convention of 1904, the Franco-Siamese Treaty of 1907 and the verdict of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of 1962 and the 1908 maps which were accepted by the then Siamese king.

The Prime Minister’s letter had also drawn the UNSC's attention to the verdict of the ICJ which stated that “the Temple of Preah Vihear is situated in territory under the sovereignty of Cambodia;” and that “Thailand is under an obligation to withdraw any military or police forces, or other guards or keepers, stationed by her at the Temple, or in its vicinity within Cambodian territory.”

The letter accused Thailand of violating articles 2.3 and 2.4 of the UN Charter. The letter also stressed that Cambodia re-affirms its policy not to use force to settle any disputes, but said it reserves its “legitimate rights” to defend its “sovereignty and territorial integrity” in the face of aggression by Thailand.

The Prime Minister Hun Sen had also requested the UNSC to widely circulate the letter to all members of the UNSC for information. He added that the tense situation is caused by the Thai invasion of Preah Vihear areas on 15th July 2008 but were not under inscription of Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage List.

On the 10th of August 2010, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajeva has also sent an official letter to Mr. Vitaly Churkin, President of the United Nations Security Council in response to Cambodia’s Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen’s letter. In his letter, Thai Prime Minister told the UNSC’s President that Preah Vihear controversy is “misquoted, taken out of context and misunderstood”.

Due to the tense situation of the two countries border dispute, Cambodia and Thailand have indefinitely postponed an annual border meeting in the midst of an ongoing row over Preah Vihear temple.

The 7th General Joint Border Meeting, which will be held in Thailand on August 27-28, was officially delayed because Thailand’s defense ministry had not prepared necessary documents.
According to the plan, at the meeting, both sides are expected to sign agreements on border security, cooperation on landmine disposal, prevention of drug and human trafficking, and other security measures, said Gen. Chhum Socheat, Spokesperson for Cambodia’s Ministry of National Defense.

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