Hun Sen Keeps Heat on Abhisit Over Misquotes

Prime Minister Hun Sen renewed his verbal assault against Thailand yesterday, criticizing Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva for denying he had threatened to use the military to solve a border dispute near Preah Vihear temple.

In a speech in Phnom Penh yesterday, Mr Hun Sen said Mr Abhisit was acting like a victim by blaming the Thai media for misquoting his remarks on the border issue last weekend.

On Sunday, Mr Hun Sen warned the UN Security Council and General Assembly that Thai media had quoted Mr Abhisit as threatening to use the military to solve the border dispute.

Mr Abhisit in response told the UN his remarks had been misquoted and misinterpreted but Mr Hun Sen said yesterday that his Thai counterpart needed to take more responsibility and said he had viewed seen a video recording Mr Abhisit making the offending remarks.

“In the world…until now, there has been no prime minister that has dared to say they would use force against Cambodia,” Mr Hun Said.

Mr Hun Sen also continued calls for a third party to help with negotiations over the border, saying that he was proposing that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon chair a discussion between the two nations in Cambodia before attending an Asean meeting on Oct 27.

A spokeswoman for the office of the UN Resident Coordinator said yesterday that Mr Ban was not currently scheduled to make an official visit Phnom Penh in October.

“Our office has received no information about a visit,” the spokeswoman said.

Mr Hun Sen’s speech yesterday came as the Thai Cabinet approved the report from a meeting of the bilateral General Border Committee that was held in Siem Reap in April 2009.

“The Cabinet endorsed the report of the sixth meeting of the Thai-Cambodian General Border Committee…[and] the report will be passed to the parliament,” a Thai government statement said.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said yesterday that the Thai Cabinet’s decision to finally approve the report was welcome, even if it had been 15 months since the meeting was held.

“It is very welcome…. Now we would also like to see the Thai parliament ratify the report as well,” Mr Siphan said. “This decision is the result of the letter that my Prime Minister Hun Sen sent to the UN.”

Speaking by videoconference from Paris, SRP leader Sam Rainsy said yesterday that he was happy the government had written to the UN, as his party had requested such action more than a year ago.

“I congratulate the government for agreeing with the opposition party request…. It is an occasion that can bring the Khmer citizens together,” Mr Rainsy said, adding that he would like to see the same action taken in regards to the Vietnam border.

  (Additional reporting by Eang Mengleng)


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