The UN Security Council today will begin discussing Cambodia’s request for emergency intervention in the military standoff with Thailand at Preah Vihear temple, officials said Wednesday.
Cambodian military officials said Wednesday that Thai troops were continuing to build up elsewhere along the border.
Foreign Affairs Ministry Secretary of State Ouch Borith flew Wednesday to New York to join Cambodia’s UN Ambassador Sea Kosal for the first day of a three-day emergency session of the Security Council, ministry spokesman Sin Bunthoeun said by telephone.
Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong will fly to New York on Friday and address the Security Council on Monday, Sin Bunthoeun said, adding that he did not know what Cambodia would request of the council or what actions the council might take.
Hor Namhong said Tuesday that Cambodia’s appeal to the Security Council was a last option in order to bypass “this imminent state of war.”
Thailand’s ambassador to the UN said Wednesday he was also “informed that the UN has included Preah Vihear on the emergency agenda to be discussed at the Security Council meeting [today],” according to Agence France-Presse.
E-mails and phone calls to Cambodia’s permanent mission to the UN went unanswered Wednesday.
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said he was not sure what steps the UN Security Council might take to resolve the standoff at Preah Vihear temple, where officials say thousands of Thai and Cambodian troops are now stationed.
“Different countries have to take action right away to protect the temple,” Phay Siphan said by telephone Wednesday.
Phay Siphan said Thailand is disregarding the border map recognized by the International Court of Justice in its 1962 decision that Preah Vihear temple belonged to Cambodia, though Thailand argues that the ICJ judgment was limited solely to the question of sovereignty over the temple.
Vietnam, the current president of the 15-nation Security Council, remains hopeful the issue can be resolved bilaterally, Trinh Ba Cam, spokesman for the Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh, said Wednesday.
“Cambodia is a member of the UN, so Cambodia has the right to ask the UN and Asean to help,” he said.
The UN Security Council has the power to investigate disputes that might lead to “international friction,” determine the existence of a threat to peace or act of aggression, and take economic sanctions or military action to halt aggression, according to the council’s charter.
Thailand maintains that third-party intervention from the UN or Asean is unnecessary, according to statements posted Tuesday evening on the Thai Foreign Affairs Ministry Web site.
“If the parties concerned were too quick to resort to the UN Security Council, this would do harm to Asean’s standing and may actually make the resolution to the issue more difficult,” according to the ministry, a stance it said China, Singapore and the Philippines back.
Thai Embassy First Secretary Chaturont Chaiyakam declined to comment on the situation Wednesday. The Thai Foreign Ministry, Defense Department and Royal Thai Army all said Wednesday that no one was available to comment.
Cambodian military officials said Cambodia and Thailand are keeping the promise made Monday to not deploy more troops to Preah Vihear temple, though elsewhere along the border the military face-off is escalating.
RCAF Military Region 4 commander Chea Mon said “several thousand” Thai troops are moving along Thailand’s border with Preah Vihear, Oddar Meanchey and Banteay Meanchey provinces.
“They continued to send more military troops to the border, increasing from 20 to 30 every day on their side. Cambodia did not send more troops to the temple or to the border,” he said by telephone Wednesday.
Chea Mon declined to say how many Cambodian troops are stationed along the border or at Preah Vihear temple.
Oddar Meanchey Provincial Governor Pich Sokhin said Wednesday that about 1,000 Thai troops are positioned across from his province, though he declined to reveal the number of Cambodian troops.
Preah Vihear provincial Deputy Governor Long Sovann said Thai and Cambodian troop levels at Preah Vihear temple have remained constant since Monday.