Cambodia will host a long-delayed 8th General Border Committee meeting as early as later this month, according to officials.
Initially scheduled for April, the bilateral meeting to discuss border security and relations had been repeatedly delayed over increasing tensions between the two countries. Following Thailand’s July 3 national elections—which saw a sweep by the Cambodia-friendly Pheu Thai Party—the channels of communication have broadened considerably.
“It will be at the end of this month or the beginning of next month,” said the spokesman for the Thai Ministry of Defense, Veerachon Sukondhadhpatipak. “At the moment, we don’t know exactly when.”
While the date and location of the meeting have not yet been made public, Chhum Sucheat, spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, said it would be “very soon” and confirmed it would be held in Cambodia.
“We sent an invitation to the Minister of Defense and one to the secretariat,” said Lieutenant General Sucheat. “Normally, before we hold the meeting…the secretariat of the two ministries meet to form the schedule and draw up the documents.”
Pavin Chachavalpongpun, a political researcher at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, said yesterday that the GBC would likely result in an agreement precluding the need for Indonesian observers.
“There is a good chance that both sides will return to a bilateral framework,” he wrote via e-mail yesterday.
“We have to understand that Cambodia’s earlier proposal to include Asean was a part of wanting to internationalize the issue. Now that both sides are willing to talk, they may not see the need to involve the third party.”
—Cambodia To Host Border Talks With Thailand