Thailand’s UN Letter Rejects Cambodian Claims

Thailand delivered a letter to the UN Security Council and General Assembly on Tuesday, denying Prime Minister Hun Sen’s claims that Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva had threatened to use military force to solve a border dispute near Preah Vihear temple.

Prime Minister Hun Sen warned the UN Security Council and General Assembly on Sunday that a newspaper had quoted Mr Abhisit as threatening to use the military to solve the border dispute. Mr Hun Sen’s letter also claimed that Thai troops were illegally stationed inside Cambodian territory near the World Heritage-listed temple.

In a letter sent to both the Security Council and General Assembly, Mr Abhisit said that Cambodia’s complaints were unfounded.

“My remarks…in the said letter were misquoted, taken out of context and misunderstood,” Mr Abhisit’s letter said, adding that Thailand preferred to work peacefully with Cambodia to overcome the dispute through “bilateral frameworks,” including the Joint Border Committee.

The letter also mentioned that the current problem between the two nations had been caused by Cambodia’s illegal encroachment in Thailand’s territory.

The Council of Ministers reacted strongly to the letter yesterday, issuing a statement saying that Mr Abhisit had intensified “the campaign of intoxication” against Cambodia.

The statement also questioned why Mr Abhisit had not requested a retraction from the newspaper if he believed he was misquoted.

“In the meantime, if the Thai media is correct, it proves…that Mr Abhisit is a liar, a rogue with a very sophisticated, manipulative mind,” the statement said.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said yesterday that the Thai prime minister needed to take more responsibility with his words.

“He openly declared to a group of yellow shirt protesters about [using the military]…. Now he withdraws his words. He is an irresponsible leader.”

Mr Kuong also rejected Mr Abhisit’s allegations that Cambodians were encroaching on Thai soil. “People living in that area are situated in Cambodian territory and have been living there long before the [Memorandum of Understanding] was signed in 2000,” Mr Kuong said.

A statement released by the Thai government yesterday said Mr Abhisit would meet with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon next month “in a bid to solve” the bilateral dispute.

Major General Srey Dek, commander of the RCAF 3rd Division, said the situation at the border near Preah Vihear temple remained stable yesterday. He added that there had been no communication between the two forces for several days.

(Additional reporting by Phorn Bopha)


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