Monday, February 28, 2011

Army: Limits on observers’ border access

28 Feb, 2011
Source: Bangkok Post

The army plans to restrict access of neutral observers invited by Thai and Cambodian government to monitor the border to certain areas and information, citing national security reasons.

“We will have to restrict their access to classified information at some level . We are not going to let them see everything,’’ army commander-in-chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Tuesday.

Thailand and Cambodia agreed to invite Indonesia to deploy observers on both sides of the disputed border area at the Asean foreign ministerial meeting in Jakarta last week.

He said a detailed schedule of the observers’ visit is expected to be released after the Thai-Cambodia Joint Border Committee (JBC) meeting next month.

The Suranaree Task Force and the 2nd Army will then be commissioned to look into the details and take care of the matter.

“I want it [the Thai-Cambodian border conflict] to remain a bilateral issue and do not want any third country to step in, therefore imposing limits on access is needed,’’ Gen Prayuth said.

The commander-in-chief said the army must follow government policy and will heed the United Nation Security Council's calls for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

A group of military and civilian observers from Indonesia, the current Asean chairman, will visit affected areas of the border to observe the commitment of both Thailand and its neighbour to avoid further hostilities.

The observers' mandate is to assist and support the parties in respecting their commitment to avoid further fighting, by observing and reporting accurately and impartially complaints of violations and submitting findings to each party through Indonesia.

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