Top Asean official asks ministers to help settle dispute between Thailand and Cambodia8/11/2009
BANGKOK - ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan yesterday urged Thailand and Cambodia to show 'maximum restraint' amid tensions over Phnom Penh's job offer to fugitive former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
The diplomatic row between the two neighbours stands to embarrass the 10-nation bloc and undermine its credibility at a summit of Asian and Pacific leaders in Singapore this week, Dr Pitsuwan said.
But in an interview to Reuters in Tokyo on Saturday, where he was attending a summit of five Mekong-region nations and Japan, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Thailand will not let the dispute affect Asean.
'We are very conscious that this is an issue that we should solve bilaterally and that we should not let this get in the way of multilateral cooperation. So we won't allow it to affect Asean. We won't allow it to affect a forum like this,' he said.
When asked if he had a chance to speak with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who was also attending the summit in Tokyo, Mr Abhisit said: 'We did not talk.'
He also said Thailand had no plans yet to seal its border with Cambodia, but would seek to extradite Thaksin if he went to Cambodia to become an adviser.