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BANGKOK, Feb 7 – Thailand’s Foreign Ministry said it would send a second letter to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Monday evening clarifying the latest border clash between Thai and Cambodian troops in which the neighbour’s troops had begun the attack despite a ceasefire, with Thailand insisting that the problem should be resolved at the bilateral level.
“Thailand reserved the right to work out the problem bilaterally which is seen as the best solution. We would like to affirm that the clash was clearly an attempt to internationalise the issue and bring other countries to be involved in the territorial and national sovereignty dispute, which will only worsen the problem,” said acting Thai government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn in a joint news conference Monday afternoon with army spokesman Col Sansern Kaewkamnerd and Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, secretary to the Thai foreign minister.
The Thai government made its stance clear after Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen sent a letter to the UN Security Council Sunday calling for an emergency meeting to help end the fighting.
“We need the United Nations to send forces here and create a buffer zone to guarantee that there is no more fighting,” Hun Sen said, adding that the situation kept deteriorating and the two sides were no longer listening to each other.
Mr Chavanond said the Thai foreign ministry will send a second letter to the Security Council Monday evening, reasserting to the world body that Cambodia had begun firing at the Thai troops on Sunday despite both sides having agreed to a ceasefire near the disputed Preah Vihear temple the day before.
He also noted that the Cambodian government has sent its second letter of complaint to the Security Council while the clash was going on, the action in which he described as “very fast”.
The Thai army spokesman reported, since the fighting erupted Friday, one Thai soldier was killed, 25 were wounded and one civilian died in the clashes. One Thai soldier was also detained as captive after he got lost in Cambodian territory during the exchange of gunfire.
The army spokesman said it is still unconfirmed whether the detained soldier will be taken to the Cambodian court. The UN charter states that a soldier can be detained until the war ends, but release is possible through talks.
Following Cambodia’s claim that the controversial Wat Kaew Sikha Khiri Sawara was damaged by the Thai troops, Col Sansern said he could not comment about the extent of the damage as he had not seen it himself.
Col Sansern added that officials at the operational level of both countries are still contacting each other but noted that the more senior Cambodian officials may not be receiving correct information as the Cambodian government’s stance contradicts what had happened in the field.
The army spokesman said that the Thailand-Cambodia Joint Boundary Commission (JBC) will still be held at the end of this month as earlier agreed by Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya and his Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhong. (MCOT online news)