Cambodia favours ceasefire with Thailand under ASEAN aegis

Thursday, February 17, 2011

PHNOM PENH - Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen Thursday said his country will ask Thailand to sign a permanent ceasefire with ASEAN foreign ministers as witnesses or the ASEAN chair during the regional grouping’s foreign ministers’ Feb 22 meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, as co-signatory.

“It’s better if ASEAN chair (Marty Natalegawa of Indonesia) can sign in the permanent ceasefire,” Xinhua quoted the Cambodian Prime Minister as saying during a press conference Thursday at Government House here.

Hun Sen, meanwhile, put forward four points concerning the permanent ceasefire: firstly, Cambodia and Thailand agree to stop fighting for good. No more weapons clashes forever.

Secondly, no mobilisation of armed forces for this time and both sides maintain status quo of armed forces to await the resolution on measuring and demarcating the border.

Thirdly, Cambodia and Thailand should encourage the two countries’ army commanders to open talks to improve good cooperation in order to allow the situation return to the pre-July 15, 2008 positions.

Fourthly, to ensure the effectiveness of ceasefire, Cambodia will ask ASEAN countries to monitor the truce.

The Cambodian-Thai border dispute is a century-old dispute involving the area surrounding the 11th-century Preah Vihear Temple, located between the Choam Khsant district in the Preah Vihear province of northern Cambodia and the Kantharalak district (amphoe) in the Sisaket province of Northeastern Thailand.

On Feb 4, the Thai military said that Cambodian forces had fired artillery rounds into Thailand near Preah Vihear temple on the joint border, while the Cambodian side blamed Thai troops.

The bone of contention remains a 4.6-square-km plot of land near the site, which is claimed by both Thailand and Cambodia.

The temple area has been the subject of often bitter debate within and between the two nations since the very late 19th century.

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