>INTERVIEW WITH US SECRETARY OF STATE: Thai-Cambodia border row should not be pushed to UN : US

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US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice talks to a group of selected journalists including Supalak about the border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia on the sideline of Asean ministerial meeting in Singapore.

Interview with US Secretary of State Rice

Q: Let me start first with the issue of Thai-Cambodian relation, I mean the border stand off. I wonder if the issue comes into you attention and whether it is premature for the two countries to go to discuss in the UNSC.

Rice: Yes, thank you. It is something subject to the discussion. We are concerned about it and aware of the way to solve it peacefully. My understanding is there are some efforts to solve it in bilateral discussion but the Asean is also taking a role of watching and tries to help if necessary. We continue to consult with regional states. It had not been taken up into the (UN Security) council yet although there is a request to. I made very clear to all my Asean colleagues that the US will be very much interested in fact guided by the regional assessment of what need to be done here.

Q: Do you think, it’s premature to put it into the UNSC

Rice: Well, it’s right now because there are bilateral consultations going on and because Asean taking a role but again we will be heavily guided by the views of countries in the region and I had a chance to raise to several of them.

Q : Madame: A question on Burma; I read somewhere you said earlier that you will push Asean to do more on the Burma. Have you done over the past days?

Rice: We have a very good discussion on Burma, of course Burmese foreign minister was there. The Asean charter aspires to rule of law, human right, development of pluralistic political system and integration into the international community state. And Burma does accept it, definitely accept it. When you have situation, you had with the cyclone where days and weeks go by with international community literally sitting off shore France, UK and US ready to help but the junta refused to let people in need be helped, how the United Stats stands by and let the thing happen.

I give credit to the Asean for developing the mechanism for assistance and for speeding up the assistance after a period of time and a kind international clearing house you work for contact with Burma that is a useful role but it should never happen at the first place.

Now the question is given the slight opening that this provided, Is there away to move Burma to a political track that make something of what is right now a some kind of markedly which is the roadmap goes nowhere and would it be possible for regional states and neighbors to press the regime to release ASSK to allow real opposition to get on the track.

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