Thailand welcomes Cambodian PM's remarks; FMs to meet over temple row

ID :
15355
Fri, 08/08/2008 - 19:41

Thailand welcomes Cambodian PM's remarks; FMs to meet over temple row

BANGKOK, Aug 8 (TNA) - Thailand on Friday welcomed positive remarks by
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen over attempts to end an ongoing dispute regarding the ancient Preah Vihear temple and on a plan to hold a second meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries later this month.

Welcoming Mr. Hun Sen's stance on a bid to end the temple row, a press
release issued by the Thai minister of foreign affairs noted: "Thailand
wishes to find a solution to the issue of the Temple of Preah Vihear in a
peaceful and amicable manner, making full use of the existing bilateral
mechanisms, including meetings between the two foreign ministers, the
Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Commission and the General Border
Committee".

Thai Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag and his Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhong
met for the first time in Cambodia's Siem Reap province on July 28 and
agreed on several points to resolve problems related to the Preah Vihear
temple, including troop "redeployment" by both sides, especially around
the disputed 4.6-square-kilometre area surrounding the temple.

But so far redeploying troops of both countries out of a pagoda, the area
surrounding the pagoda and the Preah Vihear temple has not yet taken
place.

The press release said Thailand concurred with the Cambodian premier that
the second meeting of the two foreign ministers should be "able to make
good progress" and hoped that the upcoming meeting would "pave the way for
both sides to find a solution".

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said in Phnom Penh on Wednesday that he
hoped the meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries in
Thailand on August 18 would help narrow the differences.

Mr. Hun Sen also said Phnom Penh was ready to withdraw its troops, in line
with a Thai cabinet decision on Tuesday to assign a regional military
commander to discuss troop redeployment to reduce tensions in the area.

Meanwhile, Thai Supreme Commander Gen. Boonsang Niempradit said that the
troop redeployment issue which the cabinet assigned the military to confer
with the foreign ministry has a "wide meaning and the two countries must
discuss first on how to implement it and how many personnel would be
withdrawn".

Gen. Boonsang said the second meeting between foreign ministers of the two
countries, if held on August 18, may not at that time achieve the desired
end result but that he would be pleased if it makes headway.
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