Negotiations on Border Dispute To Restart

Thailand and Cambodia will re­start bilateral negotiations to re­solve their 10-week border dispute Sept 29 on the sidelines of the UN General As­sembly session in New York, officials said Sunday.

Past practice is for either Prime Minister Hun Sen or Foreign Minister Hor Nam­hong to attend sessions of the UN General Assembly, acording to Chea Sok­hom, deputy secretary-general of the Permanent Organizing Com­mission for Nation­al and Inter­national Ceremonies.

Whoever attends will also lead the Cambodian side Sept 29 during negotiations in New York with the Thai foreign minister, Chea Sok­hum said Sunday by telephone.

Military leaders will also meet in early October in Siem Reap to resume negotiations concerning the withdrawal of troops from Preah Vihear temple, RCAF Re­gion 4 Commander Chea Morn said.

Renewed talks will come four weeks after Thailand indefinitely postponed bilateral military meetings and a week after Prime Min­is­ter Hun Sen said the border stand­off, now spread to three temples, required a third party mediator.

According to Information Minis­ter and government spokesman Khieu Kanharith, newly instated Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat called Hun Sen on Friday night.

Hun Sen congratulated Somchai on his appointment and invited him to visit Cambodia, though no date was fixed, Khieu Kanharith said Sunday by e-mail.

The Thai foreign ministry, however, gave a slightly different version of events and said Hun Sen called Somchai on Thursday night and said he hoped they could use “existing bilateral mechanisms to strengthen further the friendly relations between their two countries.”

Somchai also said Saturday that Thai and Cambodian foreign ministers will meet Sept 29 at the Informal Asean Ministerial Meet­ing on the sidelines of the UN General As­sembly and brief all Asean foreign ministers on the situation, according to a statement posted on the Thai foreign ministry Web site.

“Thailand will reiterate the need to resolve the border problem through bilateral means,” the statement said.

While Thailand currently has no foreign minister, Somchai said he would find a replacement in time for the conclusion of the 63rd meeting of the UN General Assembly, which runs from today to Friday.

The statement added that the new Thai Foreign Minister will decide the timeframe for future military negotiations.

Thai Embassy First Secretary Chaturont Chaiyakam confirmed next week’s meeting in New York between ministers and added that militaries would also reconvene talks in early October.

“The [militaries’] meeting was postponed, not canceled,” he said Sunday by telephone.

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