Thai-Cambodian border dispute may hinder ASEAN community: chairman

09:47, April 12, 2011      

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Marty Natalegawa, Indonesian Foreign Minister and current ASEAN chairman, admitted on Monday that the recent conflict between Thailand and Cambodia could have a short-term, negative impact on creating ASEAN community.

However, in the longer term, if the problem would be addressed with the engagement of ASEAN, it would have positive impact on other cases when dispute between ASEAN members arise.

"I think, in the short term, my answer would be it is troubling, it is creating special challenges for ASEAN but, in the longer term, if we could get it right, it will have a huge positive impact," Marty said at Special Informal ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting on East Asia Summit in Bangkok.

He said this is the first time that ASEAN country members tried to settle this kind of conflict directly.

"It shows ASEAN for the first time addressing an issue of this type directly and not simply producing documents," Marty said.

ASEAN, which comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, has traditionally followed a policy of non-intervention in its members' internal political problems.

As for the progress of Indonesian observers to be deployed along the two countries' border to ensure ceasefire, the Indonesian Foreign Minister said the countries have not yet agreed on the 'area of coverage'.

"We have one key remaining, pending issue, namely the so called 'area of coverage' where the observer team, member team would be assigned," said Marty.

Besides, he also addressed that the observer team will be unarmed unit and not wearing military uniform, and therefore, the team should be "assigned" not "deployed".
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