October 14, 2008

Thailand to Act in Self-Defence If Cambodia Uses Force – Thai Foreign Ministry

Text of report in English by Thai newspaper The Nation website on 14 October

[Unattributed report: "Thailand will act in self -defence : Cambodia told"]

If Cambodia resorts to use of force, Thailand will have to exercise its right of self-defence as provided under the Charter of the United Nations: Thai FM

Tensions along Thai and Cambodian border have flared up again on Tuesday after Thailand refused to follow Cambodia's threat to withdraw its troops from an area near Preah Vihear Temple.

Thai Foreign Ministry's statement said, ""If Cambodia does resort to the use of force in accordance with its so-called ultimatum, Thailand will have to exercise its right of self-defence as provided under the Charter of the United Nations."

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen issued the ultimatum on Monday, saying Bangkok could face large-scale conflict if Thailand failed to abide by his threat.

He issued the threat after Thai Foreign Minister Sompong Wongsawat met with his Cambodian counterpart Hor Nam Hong in a border meeting in Phnom Penh on Monday. "The Veal Intry area is the dead or alive point for us "The situation at the Veal Intry area is too hot. They have to remove tonight or tomorrow. If they don't remove from the Veal Intry area, war will be waged," he said.

Meanwhile Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat on Tuesday chaired an urgent meeting to discuss about the matters Cambodia's threat to start war if Thailand did not evacuate its troops from an area near the Preah Vihear Temple.

Somchai reiterated that it is not possible for the Thai troops to withdraw from the area. "It is like you are asked to retreat from your own house," he said.

Thai premier quoted Sompong as saying that he was surprised that Hun Sen made such a threat after the meeting. "During the meeting, Prime Minister Hun Sen seemed to have no problems on the matters. It was surprising that he came out of the meeting room to say that," Sompong said.

Sompong told the meeting in Phnom Penh that Thailand will not have any problem to withdraw if Cambodia did the same to avoid any confrontation.

Asked whether he will telephone Hun Sen about the issue, Somchai said he will look into details and surrounding circumstances before deciding the next step.

Originally published by The Nation website, Bangkok, in English 14 Oct 08.

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