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Saturday, March 05, 2011

ASEAN chair to set up meetings for Cambodian-Thai border dispute

PHNOM PENH, March 5 (Xinhua) -- Indonesia, in the status of ASEAN chair, is arranging meetings for Cambodian-Thai defense ministers and border chiefs in Jakarta, said Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday.

"Indonesian foreign minister (Marty M. Natalegawa) is preparing to have the meetings of Cambodia-Thai General Border Committee and Joint Border Committee on Demarcation for Land Boundary (JBC) in Jakarta, Indonesia," Hun Sen said during a visit to about 500 disabled soldiers and their families in Chhouk district of Kampot province.

"Cambodia welcomes Indonesian foreign minister to set the dates for the meetings of the two countries' defense ministers and border chiefs," he said. "And Indonesia, the host, will be the referee, and whatever points Cambodia and Thailand agree, Indonesia has to take a note of every agreement between us."

Hun Sen said that Indonesia foreign minister Marty M. Natalegawa has sent a letter to Cambodian and Thai foreign ministers and other foreign ministers of ASEAN members on Friday.

The letter mentioned Cambodia's absolute acceptance of the terms of reference for the Indonesian observers to the border disputed areas.

Also, in the letter, the foreign minister wrote, "I am aware that Thai side does not oppose to the observers, but it is taking it into consideration," Hun Sen said.

Cambodia has arranged 14 places for the observers and for the period of 12 months, and it said the time could be extended and the 14 points could be added further. "Nothing is mysterious for Cambodia," said Hun Sen.

Cambodia and Thailand on Feb. 22 agreed to receive Indonesian observers to monitor the border disputed areas near the 11th century Preah Vihear temple in order to ensure a permanent ceasefire

The border between Thailand and Cambodia has never been completely demarcated.

Although the International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the Temple of Preah Vihear belonged to Cambodia, the row over the 4.6-square-km territory around the temple has never been resolved.

The conflict has occurred just a week after Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple was enlisted as World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008, since then both sides have built up military forces along the border, and periodic clashes happened, resulted in deaths of troops on both sides.

The latest clashes on Feb. 4-7, unleashed a barrage of artillery shells on both sides of the border, had killed and wounded many soldiers and citizens of both sides, and caused tens of thousands of the two countries' villagers nearby the disputed areas fleeing for safe shelters.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Editor: Tang Danlu

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