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Thailand insists Cambodia fired first

Posted by arnon_k On February - 7 - 2011 1 COMMENT

Spokesmen for the Thai government and the Thai army insisted on Monday that Cambodian forces began the fighting in disputed territory along the border near Preah Vihear temple, a world heritage site.

Panitan Wattanayagorn, acting spokesman of the Thai government, told a press conference that Cambodia started the fighting in a bid to get other countries to get involved in the bilateral Thai-Cambodia conflict.

He said the Thai government fully supported the action the Thai army took to handle the border situation, and that Thai retaliation was aimed only at military targets.

Army spokesman Col Sansern Kaewkumnerd also insisted that Thailand did not start the fighting.

He also said it would be difficult for Thailand to enter bilateral negotiations with Cambodia because Phnom Penh would present a distorted point of view.

Foreign affairs minister’s secretary Chavanond Intarakomalsut said the the ministry already advised the United Nations that Cambodia had encroached on Thai territory.

The ministry had advised the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) that it opposes Cambodia having sole management right to the Preah Vihear world heritage site and its vicinity.

The ministry had also complained to the United Nations Security Council that Cambodia failed to abide by a truce agreement and that Phnom Penh was trying to get international intervention in its conflict with Thailand to further its own aims.

Thailand ‘ready to explain’ to UN

Posted by arnon_k On February - 7 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Thailand is ready and willing to explain its position in the border conflict with Cambodia to the United Nations Security Council, government acting spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said on Monday.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has asked the UN to intervene in the Thai-Cambodian conflict.

Mr Panitan said that Thailand had previously explained the situation with Cambodia to the UN Security Council and would send additional explanations to the council if Cambodia repeated its complaint.

Mr Panitan said the agenda of the council depend on the decisions of its permanent members and non-permanent members. All the members must agree with the agenda first.

Thailand has briefed its representatives. The council may reach a resolution, but the process is complicated and permanent member countries have the right to veto a resolution.

“Mostly, it considers situations without reaching a resolution. If some country wants to get involved by deploying its forces, that would need approval from the five permanent member countries.

“For an issue to be discussed it must be seen as a serious issue.

“At present, there are the issues in Egypt and Tunisia. The issue of Thailand and Cambodia must follow the procedures. If there is a complaint, we are ready to explain. That is it,” Mr Panitan said.

Thailand’s democracy rating slips

Posted by arnon_k On January - 14 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Thailand is among 25 countries which showed significant declines in democracy last year with little serious resistance from the democratic world, the watchdog group Freedom House says.

It was the fifth consecutive year the Freedom House has reported a decline in political rights and civil liberties worldwide.

“Our adversaries are not just engaging in widespread repression, they are doing so with unprecedented aggressiveness and self-confidence,” said David J Kramer, executive director of the group.

“And the democratic community is not rising to the challenge.”

The report’s survey of 194 countries and 14 territories around the world found that China, Egypt, Iran, Russia and Venezuela continued to increase repressive measures with little significant resistance from democracies.

The number of electoral democracies dropped to 115, the lowest level since 1995, after reaching a high of 123 in 2005.

Of the 47 countries ranked not free, nine countries and one territory received the survey’s lowest possible rating for both political rights and civil liberties: Burma, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Tibet, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Eleven countries were credited with making gains last year, but 25 others were cited as showing significant declines.

The 25 countries listed as declining in their levels of freedom were Afghanistan, Bahrain, Burundi, Cambodia, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Hungary, Iran, Kuwait, Latvia, Madagascar, Mexico, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Thailand, Ukraine, Venezuela and Zambia.

The Middle East and North Africa remained the regions with the lowest level of freedom while Ukraine and Mexico fell from the “free” to the “partly free” category, the report said.

“Authoritarian regimes will have a much freer hand to silence their domestic critics if there is no resistance from the outside world,” said Arch Puddington, director of research at Freedom House.

New border crossing hits snag

Posted by arnon_k On January - 13 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

The opening of a new permanent border crossing between Thailand and Cambodia may be further delayed by the current tension along the border, Burapa Task Force commander Maj-Gen Walit Rojanapakdi said on Thursday.

Maj-Gen Walit, commander of the 2nd Infantry Division, was referring to the new border checkpoint between Ban Nong Ian in tambon Tha Kham of Aranyaprathet district in Sa Kaeo province and Stung Bo in Bantey Meanchey province of Cambodia.

Cambodia proposed the opening of this checkpoint two years ago. The proposal had been considered by a joint Thai-Cambodian committee, the Sa Kaeo governor, and the National Security Council (NSC). It is about to be forwarded to the cabinet for final approval.

The new checkpoint was intended to ease the heavy traffic through the Khlong Luek- Poi Pet checkpoint.

It is also part of an exclusive economic zone project to make Aranyaprathet the gateway to Cambodia, Vietnam and Indochina.

“As commander of a unit in the area, I will propose that the opening of the new border checkpoint be delayed for some time because it is not far from the the Klong Luek – Poi Pet checkpoint, where the situation is not yet normal.

“This would affect local people involved in the cross-border trade,” Maj-Gen Walit said.

Ban Nong Ian is located between border posts Nos 50-51, where the boundary is clearly defined by a stream.