ASEAN to help resolve Thai-Cambodian border dispute

By Xinhua,

Singapore : Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will help member states Thailand and Cambodia end the tense border dispute over an ancient temple, ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said on Tuesday.

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Surin said that foreign ministers will look into the real situation in the border area. ASEAN has urged Thailand and Cambodia to exercise utmost restraint and resolve peacefully their border dispute.

“We urged both sides to exercise utmost restraint and resolve this issue amicably, in the spirit of ASEAN solidarity and good neighborliness,” Singapore’s Foreign Minister George Yeo said in a statement issued after the grouping’s ministerial meeting informal working dinner on Sunday night.

Meanwhile, Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong has requested ASEAN Chair Singapore to form a regional inter-ministerial group to help end the border dispute.

The ASEAN foreign ministers are holding their annual meeting in Singapore this week.

Thailand and Cambodia are locked in a military stand-off over the 11th century Preah Vihear temple. The dispute over territory near Preah Vihear temple escalated earlier this month when UNESCO approved Cambodia’s application to have the complex named a World Heritage Site.

“What we need is for Cambodia and Thailand to really exercise their utmost restraint … to prevent any outbreak of open conflict,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda told reporters.

ASEAN’s members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.