SINGAPORE — Thailand and Cambodia have agreed to “exert utmost efforts” to find a peaceful solution to their border stand—off at a disputed temple, Singapore’s Foreign Minister George Yeo (pictured) said Sunday.
“Both sides affirmed that they would abide by their ASEAN and international obligations and exert their utmost efforts to find a peaceful solution to the issue,” Mr Yeo said as Southeast Asian foreign ministers began an annual meeting in Singapore.
More than 500 Thai troops and well over 1,000 Cambodian soldiers are stationed around a small Buddhist pagoda leading to the ruins of an 11th—century temple, where nearby land is claimed by both sides.
The armed stand—off began after three Thai protesters were arrested on Tuesday for crossing a fence to reach the ancient ruins, which have been a source of tension between the neighbours for decades.
“We urged both sides to exercise utmost restraint and resolve this issue amicably in the spirit of ASEAN solidarity and good neighbourliness,” Mr Yeo said in a statement.
In a second statement, this time on the situation in Myanmar, Minister Yeo said the foreign ministers expressed their deep disappointment that Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention under house arrest has been extended by the Myanmar government.
They repeated the call by the ASEAN leaders for her release and also that of other political detainees as part of Myanmar’s national reconciliation process.
Minister Yeo added that ASEAN’s foreign ministers also encouraged Myanmar to continue to work closely with UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari to ensure an inclusive process towards national reconciliation.