Photo: PA Chanroeun
PHNOM PENH, July 22 (Xinhua) — The Cambodian side Monday turned down the Thai side’s request to review the border lines, during the meeting of the General Border Committee (GBC) between both countries held in Thai province of Sa Kaew, said a senior Cambodian official.
“We had good negotiation with the Thai side. We agreed with each other on one point and another, but the Cambodian side didn’t agree the Thai side’s request to review the border lines with us. We already had border lines with the Thai side according to the treaties signed by France and Thailand in 1904 and 1907. It was international border,” said Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense Tea Banh at a press conference held at the Poit Pet town of Cambodia near the border upon his arrival at homeland.
“This was the hottest issue (during the meeting), but we just couldn’t accept it,” said Tea Banh, who led the Cambodian delegation to Thailand for the eight-hour top-level meeting originally meant to solve the seven-day bilateral military standoff at the border area.
Meanwhile, Var Kim Hong, chairman of the Cambodian Border Committee and member of the Cambodian delegation to Thailand, said that the Thai side insisted on saying that both sides didn’t have border lines on land and only had border lines in air.
“We couldn’t accept it because France and Thailand signed border treaties in 1904 and 1907. Actually, we already had border lines and they were stipulated in these international treaties,” he added.
France was protectorate of Cambodia from 1863 to 1953.
In addition, Tea Banh told reporters at the press conference that the meeting didn’t reach any resolution to withdraw the Thai troops stationed near the Preah Vihear Temple, but the major achievement was the promise made by both sides not to allow any violence and confrontation at the border area near the temple.
“Both troops won’t mobilize and have to keep calm,” he was quoted by national radio VOA as saying.
The two countries will have more meetings, but the date is not clear yet, the radio added.
Right after the meeting was over in Thailand, the Cambodian delegation held a joint press conference with the Thai side, saying that they could understand each other and the talks were held in friendly atmosphere, but nothing resulted.
It included complicated legal matters, so the delegations could not make any decision, they said.
Anyway, there will be no any violence and confrontation at the border area in order to guarantee a peaceful environment, especially for the ongoing Cambodian general election, whose polling date falls on July 27, they added.
Before the negotiation, both prime minister had exchanged letters, saying that the two countries should make utmost effort to prevent the border situation from deteriorating, so as to preserve long-lasting friendship and good cooperation between the two peoples.
Last Tuesday, three Thai protesters trespassed the border to reclaim the temple, but were immediately arrested. Thai troops then came in to fetch them, thus triggering face-off with Cambodian soldiers there. Bilateral military build-up occurred day by day. Currently, the troops there are widely estimated at thousands.
In 1962, the International Court of Justice awarded the 11- century classic Khmer-style Preah Vihear Temple, together with the land it occupies, to Cambodia. The decision has rankled the Thais ever since.
The temple straddles the Thai-Cambodian border atop the Dangrek Mountain and was listed as a World Heritage Site on July 7 by the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee.