PM ready to confer with Hun Sen under JBC framework


BANGKOK, June 5 — Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Sunday that he is prepared to discuss with his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen on ways to end the two countries’ border tensions.

Mr Abhisit noted talks can start on under the conditions that: discussions must be held under the Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Commission (JBC) framework, a joint management plan for the disputed area near Preah Vihear temple must be made, and that Cambodia must also withdraw the temple from world heritage listing.

The Phnom Penh government must also display its sincerity by withdrawing its case handed to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to interpret its 1962 ruling on the ancient temple before talks can start, Mr Abhisit said.

His remarks were made after a close aide to Thailand’s ex-prime minister Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh reportedly said that the latter had recently held talks with Mr Hun Sen in which both men agreed that forces of the two countries posted at the disputed 4.6-square-kilometre patch of land near the cliff-top Preah Vihear temple must be withdrawn and the area would be jointly managed thereafter while boundary demarcation would be handled by JBC members.

It must be understood that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two countries in 2000 clearly stipulated that changes in the disputed area could not be made by either country, which means that Cambodians must leave the area first if the Phnom Penh government respects the MoU, Mr Abhisit said.

He said the Phnom Penh government must also display its sincerity if it wants to solve the border problem by withdrawing the World Heritage status for the temple before talks could start.

Mr Abhisit said talks could “end in futile” if Cambodia continues to move on the issue with other channels.

The International Court of Justice in 1962 ruled that the 11th century temple belongs to Phnom Penh.

UNESCO named the temple a World Heritage Site in July 2008 after Cambodia applied for the status. The country submitted a unilateral management plan for the temple last year to UNESCO’s World Heritage Commission, which then deferred a decision. (MCOT online news)