Tension remains at Cambodia-Thai border, UN urges restraint
(15 February 2011)
On Monday 14 February the United Nations Security Council issued a press statement urging maximum restraint between Cambodia and Thailand. The Security Council met following the recent conflict over the disputed territory surrounding the Preah Vihear temple, located along an undefined stretch of the Cambodian-Thai boundary. Several days of shelling in early February resulted in the deaths of a number of troops and civilians on both sides, evacuation of nearby communities, and claims of damage to the UNESCO listed temple. Soon after the statement was made by the UN however, reports have suggested that skirmishes broke out, leaving one Thai soldier wounded.
The Security Council meeting behind closed doors involved discussions with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, as well as Marty Natalegawa, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia and Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The UN has supported the involvement of ASEAN which has typically not engaged in such bilateral disputes. Within the meeting, the Security Council urged for a ceasefire between the two nations, and ongoing dialogue. While Cambodia has sought UN or other third party intervention, Thailand has continually argued that the dispute is a bilateral issue. ASEAN will meet on 22 February to discuss further its role in the ongoing conflict.
Source: ‘Skirmish on Thai-Cambodia border’, BBC News, 15 February 2011; ‘Security council urges permanent ceasefire after recent Thai-Cambodia clashes’, UN News Centre, 14 February 2011.