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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Activists urge Thai govt not to sign permanent ceasefire agreement with Cambodia

BANGKOK, Feb 19 -- Activists of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) who have been holding a rally in the Thai capital for nearly a month demanding the ouster of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's government for mishandling the Thai-Cambodian border conflict demanded on Saturday that the government must not sign a permanent ceasefire agreement with Cambodia, saying that conditions proposed earlier by his counterpart Hun Sen were “insincere,” said PAD spokesman Panthep Puapongpan.

Mr Hun Sen on Thursday said in Phnom Penh that Cambodia would urge Thailand to agree to a peace deal during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers meeting, to be held in Jakarta next Tuesday, and a ceasefire agreement be signed between foreign ministers of the two neighbouring countries under the witness of ASEAN or the ASEAN chair.

The upcoming ASEAN foreign ministers meeting will be held with an aim to finding ways to end the border conflict and clashes at the disputed border between soldiers of the two countries.

But Mr Panthep said conditions proposed by Cambodia are “insincere because that country has accused Thailand on several occasions” and if an agreement has to be signed then Cambodian villagers and soldiers must move out of the disputed area or before memos by Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Commission (JBC) are formally signed.

PAD’s long standing position is to oppose Thai parliamentary endorsement of the three memos by the JBC, claiming they may result in loss of Thai territory adjacent to the Hindu Preah Vihear temple. They have also demanded the revocation of MoUs signed between Thailand and Cambodia in 2000.

The Yellow Shirt movement believes that the JBC documents will put Thailand at a disadvantage as the documents originating from the MoUs related to the survey and boundary demarcation recognising a French map, with a scale of 1:200,000 sq km, that puts Thailand at risk of losing territory.

Another PAD core leader Prapan Koonmee said he had received a letter issued by the Royal Thai Police Bureau asking him and other core leaders to report themselves to Bangkok Metropolitan Police headquarters next Tuesday on charges of violating the Internal Security Act since PAD members have been holding the rally in Bangkok since January 25.

Challenging the police order, Mr Panthep said the enforcement of the Act is tantamount to violating the constitution and the right to freedom of assembly. MCOT online news)

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