Thailand withdraws from ASEAN-led talks with Cambodia
(28 March 2011)
On 23 March 2011, Thailand's Defence Minister and Army Chief General stated that they will not attend the planned eighth General Border Committee (GBC) meeting with Cambodia, to be held on 7-8 April in Bogor, Indonesia. Thailand has long held that the dispute with Cambodia regarding the 11th Century Preah Vihear temple and the surrounding territory is a bilateral issue. Tensions have remained high following the official UNESCO listing of the temple in 2008. In February 2011 the most significant violence to date broke out, resulting in several deaths of both military and civilians from both countries. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) had agreed to mediate the dispute, offering to hold talks in Indonesia. Foreign ministers from Cambodia and Thailand agreed to ASEAN acting as mediators, along with sending observers to the disputed border region. However it appears that Thailand may no longer accept these conditions, suggesting that the involvement of a third party would complicate the situation further. The initial agreement for the involvement of ASEAN was seen as a positive step in resolving the longstanding dispute. Cambodia had previously requested the involvement of the United Nations to send a peace keeping mission, which the Thai government also said was unnecessary.
Source: ‘Indonesia’s role in the Thai-Cambodia border dispute still unclear’, Deutsche Welle, 25 March 2011; ‘Thai military not to attend general border talks in Indonesia’, IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis, 23 March 2011.