Thailand and Cambodia agreed in February to accept Indonesian military observers on the border but the initiative remains on ice due to Thai demands that Cambodia first pull troops out of the temple.
“An agreement had been agreed upon, (Thailand) should adhere to it, I wouldn’t want to say lacking in faith… (but) they did not adhere to the agreement,” Malaysian deputy foreign minister Richard Riot Jaem told reporters.
“Thailand refused and that’s why the skirmish came again,” said Riot, who attended the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting where it was agreed 30 observers would be stationed on either side of the border.
“All the 10 countries, I stress, including Thailand and Cambodia, agreed to the agreement but sad to say, the agreement was brought back to the respective two countries. Cambodia accepted it, Thailand did not accept,” he said.
“Before this, Cambodia was pointing at Thailand as starting the attack and Thailand said it was Cambodia who started …so to (determine) who started the skirmish… the foreign ministers decided to assign obervers.”
BP: One of the problems regarding the conflict is that it has become as he said/she said debate with Cambodia blaming Thailand and Thailand blaming Cambodia. Both sides have their own version of the “truth”. Outsiders have mainly kept quiet, or at least publicly. The statement above by the Malaysian deputy foreign minister is fairly clear in its criticism of Thailand. In fact, it is rather surprising that there is such a statement! However, expect statements from the Thai side that Malaysia “understands” the Thai position and he was not criticizing Thailand. The Malaysian position is fairly simple. A deal was agreed upon by all sides a few months ago and now Thailand is not willing to agree to that.
Now, having said that the latest clashes occurred in Surin Province and not near Preah Vihear where the observers are meant to be located so there is a question whether the observers at Preah Vihear could prevent clashes in Surin so perhaps some should also be situated at other hot spots too….
Now, Malaysia is not blaming Thailand for starting the clashes, but they do appear to be holding Thailand responsible for what has transpired with the recent clash.
btw, will PAD march in front of the Malaysian Embassy to protest foreign “interference” as they did with the Indonesians?