>Thailand welcomes call for unity by Cambodia’s PM

>Preah Vihear: A temple of disunity.

THANIDA TANSUBHAPOL

Thailand yesterday welcomed Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s statement that the border disputes between the two countries need to be resolved through bilateral mechanisms. Foreign Ministry spokesman Tharit Charungvat said the Cambodian leader’s stance was in line with Thailand’s as Bangkok also wished to find a solution to the Preah Vihear temple issue in a peaceful and amicable manner through bilateral mechanisms.

The existing mechanisms include meetings between the foreign ministers, the Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Commission (JBC) and the General Border Committee (GBC).

”Differences of views on boundary issues between two neighbouring countries are not unusual. Thailand and Cambodia have in common a 798-kilometre land border. Thailand shares the Cambodian prime minister’s view that both countries will be able to find a solution by working together,” said Mr Tharit.

Hun Sen on Wednesday said the two countries needed to stay together as good neighbours for tens of thousands of years to come.

Thailand and Cambodia needed to narrow their disputes and maximise bilateral cooperation including trade, he said.

Mr Tharit said the Preah Vihear temple issue was only one small part of their overall relations as the two countries have many common interests and cooperation in the economic, political, social and other dimensions.

Also, the people of both countries living along the Thai-Cambodian border have enjoyed close relations, sharing and celebrating the same traditions and cultures, he said.

”Thailand also agreed with Prime Minister Hun Sen that the second meeting between the two foreign ministers should be able to make good progress and pave the way for both sides to find a solution,” he said.

The second ministerial meeting between Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag and his Cambodian counterpart Hor Nam Hong is tentatively scheduled for August 18-19 at Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan.

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