News / Asia

ASEAN Mediates in Cambodia, Thailand Conflict

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa (C), accompanied by Cambodia Foreign Minister Hor Namhong (L) and Thailand Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya (R) speaks in a news conference after a meeting in Jakarta February 22, 2011
Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa (C), accompanied by Cambodia Foreign Minister Hor Namhong (L) and Thailand Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya (R) speaks in a news conference after a meeting in Jakarta February 22, 2011

Thailand and Cambodia agreed Tuesday to accept Indonesian observers and avoid further clashes over a border dispute. The agreement is a victory for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its current head the Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa who took on a high profile role in mediating the dispute.

After hosting a meeting in Jakarta between the Cambodian foreign minister and his Thai counterpart, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa announced that a unique arrangement had been reached to end the violent clashes between the two countries. Both sides have been fighting over a territory near a historical Hindu Khmer temple on the Thai-Cambodian border.

The foreign ministers, he says, have agreed to what he called an unofficial ceasefire, to allow in unarmed Indonesian military and civilian observers to enforce the ceasefire, and to hold further bilateral talks with Indonesian participation in the near future.

Natalegawa says he is not concerned that the ceasefire is unofficial as long as both sides adhere to it.

"The statement speaks of avoidance of armed conflict and which is what our understanding of a ceasefire is. And so there will be further meeting between the two sides to try to really solidify the present situation. So I am not going to be trapped into legality of is there a ceasefire or not a ceasefire. As long as the guns are silent and the artillery is not making nosies,” Natalegawa said. “I will be quite happy then."

Southeast Asia political analyst Carl Thayer is with the University of New South Wales. He credits Natalegawa, who as chairman of ASEAN took the diplomatic initiative to visit both countries in the past month, and got involved in meetings at the United Nations Security Council in New York. He says the successful mediation efforts gives ASEAN new credibility on issues that affect peace and stability in the region.

"I am very optimistic. It is a very big step for ASEAN,” Thayer stated. “The issue was taken before the UN Security Council and it threw the hot potato to ASEAN to follow through on. And Indonesia as chair, its foreign minister has taken a proactive role and has got the agreement of Thailand and Cambodia to show up when Thailand was saying it could only be settled bilaterally."

ASEAN has a strict policy of non-interference in member states' internal affairs and has been criticized for doing too little to resolve conflicts and preserve regional security. But Natalegawa say when the conflict began in early February, he saw a role for ASEAN to play.

"This is a seminal development in ASEAN's capacity to deal with conflict situation. When the conflict broke out last fourth of February, as head of ASEAN we were sure, certain that sooner or later this issue will come on ASEAN's lap. So it is best that we start early and have the advantage of time and have the advantage of setting the tone," Natalegawa said.

While the ceasefire is a significant breakthrough, Natalegawa says the mediation process is just beginning and finding a permanent solution to the border dispute will take more time and negotiation.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid