Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cambodia and Thailand meet this weekend to close their territorial dispute

Jakarta .- The border dispute between Cambodia and Thailand and Burma's request to chair the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2014, today's meeting focused pre-summit ministerial that the regional group held this coming weekend. "Thailand and Cambodia have agreed to Indonesian observers moving into the area of conflict", said Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, Marty Natalegawa, after meeting with his counterparts from ASEAN in Jakarta.

Indonesia holds the rotating presidency of the regional group. The Indonesian foreign minister said that Cambodia has sent a statement of acceptance of the terms proposed by Indonesia and Bangkok has given itself but has not yet officially. Natalegawa qualified that during the summit, which ends on Sunday, with the two sides negotiate the details of this commitment.

"In the next two days I will meet with foreign ministers of both countries to try to find common ground to send observers to the Indonesian border," he said. Cambodia and Thailand share a stretch of border that has never been clearly defined, which has resulted in the last decade several clashes between their forces.

In recent weeks have killed 18 people and about 60,000 have been displaced by the exchange of artillery fire. The conflict began in 2008, when UNESCO declared World Heritage Site and included Preah Vihear in Cambodian territory, an eleventh-century Hindu temple. Thailand no longer claims sovereignty of Preah Vihear, but still wants several square kilometers of its surroundings.

Another issue that will be discussed at the regional summit will be the request of Burma (Myanmar) to chair ASEAN in 2014, according to the rotation schedule of the organization is to Laos. Natalegawa acknowledged it would be an issue to be discussed at the meeting, but said that his "feeling" is that there will be no decision until some time.

Burma began to be ruled by generals following the coup by Ne Win in 1962, and the authoritarian system adopted after the civil aspect in March this year the military junta announced its dissolution as part of a transition process towards he called "controlled democracy." However, human rights organizations believe that the president give to Burma would be cause for "shame" for ASEAN.

Burma should have assumed the chairmanship of ASEAN in 2006 but gave her turn by international pressure. The Indonesian Minister explained that the meeting discussed the possibility of creating a common visa for the entire ASEAN region, a proposal that was presented several years ago but has run into resistance from some member states.

"Special efforts will be needed to achieve an ASEAN visa regime because the entries in each country is different, the intention is to be like in the European Union," said the minister. Also, the ASEAN leaders during their meeting discussed the request of East Timor to join the organization, even though countries like Singapore and have opposed the acceptance of former Portuguese colony.

ASEAN, founded in 1967, consists of Burma (Myanmar), Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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