Friday, October 2, 2009

PM Abhisit: Thai-Cambodian border situation 'normal'

BANGKOK, Oct 1 (TNA) - Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Thursday that he believes Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen's comment regarding Thai-Cambodian border disputes was aimed to impact Cambodia’s domestic political audience and that the overall situation along the Thai-Cambodian border is normal and bilateral relations are going well.

International media--Associated Press (AP) and Agence France-Presse (AFP)--Monday quoted Mr Hun Sen as telling Cambodian officials that anyone from Thailand illegally intruding into Cambodian territory but claimed by both countries would be shot.

The Cambodian leader also said that if Thai officials negotiating the border demarcation present Thai maps during bilateral talks, Cambodian officials “should tear them up or walk out.’

Answering questions in Parliament Thursday, Mr Abhisit said he believed that Mr Hun Sen's remarks were aimed for his domestic benefit.

The situation at the border is normal, the military personnel of both countries are stationed as usual, particularly around the disputed area that they both claim, he said.

Mr Abhisit added that the remarks simply were Mr Hun Sen's style, considered normal, as it had happened many times.

However, he said, Thailand remains ready to protect the kingdom’s sovereignty, but any steps taken will be carried out carefully to avoid conflict and to protect Thailand's interests.

The government also affirmed the use of peaceful mean to solve the border disputes and the disputes between Thailand and Cambodia were not come from Minister of Foreign Affairs Kasit Piromya.

Members of the Opposition Puea Thai Party always charged Mr Kasit of being unfit to serve in government for his support for the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) which seized Bangkok’s two airports late last year, as well as for his denouncing Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen regarding a disputed temple on the border.

Mr Abhisit said after Mr Kasit assumed his post, he had visited Cambodia on several occasions without problems. Bilateral relations between the two neighbours remain positive, as some bilateral agreements were reached recently.

Moreover, the Cambodian premier also affirmed in past meetings that he would not let the border disputes obstruct expanded cooperation, the Thai premier said.

Mr Abhisit said he believed that the border disputes flared up when Noppadon Pattama was Minister of Foreign Affairs and signed a joint communique with Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister Sok An in June 2008 to support the Khmer application to list the 11th century temple as a World Heritage site.

When Mr Abhisit assumed office last December, he said his government must resolve the border dispute.

Tensions between the neighbouring countries flared after the United Nations cultural body UNESCO approved Cambodia's bid in July last year to list the 11th century temple as a world heritage site, while the question of sovereignty over the 4.6 square kilometres of surrounding land has never been clearly resolved, angering some Thais who continue to claim Thailand’s ownership of the site. (TNA)

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