Jakarta, Indonesia (February 22, 2011) – The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers, under the Chairmanship of H.E. Dr Marty Natalegawa, Foreign Minister of Indonesia, on Wednesday endorsed Cambodia and Thailand’s efforts to reach an amicable modality to avoid further armed clashes along their common border.
The Ministers expressed their appreciation to Indonesia for agreeing to send observers to the affected areas of both sides of the border as requested. They further agreed that the Chair would inform the United Nations Security Council of the results of the historic meeting soon.
Cambodia and Thailand reported to the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting this afternoon at Gedung Pancasila that they had mutually achieved an agreement to avoid further violence along their common border in the area of the Hindu Temple of Preah Vihear. They pledged to resume their bilateral negotiations.
“The Meeting called upon Indonesia to engage appropriately to support the two countries’ efforts to resolve the tense situation. The positive outcome of the Meeting came after long and arduous efforts on all parties especially Minister Hor Namhong, Minister Kasit Piromya and Minister Marty Natalegawa,” said the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan.
The Chair expressed his appreciation to all ASEAN Foreign Ministers, with whom he had consulted actively in the past two weeks. The Ministers also expressed their appreciation to Indonesia as Chair of ASEAN for its willingness to send observers. Indonesia agreed “to assist and support the parties in respecting their commitment to avoid further armed clashes between them, by observing and reporting accurately, as well as impartially on complaints of violations and submitting its findings to each party through Indonesia,” stated the Chairman.
The terms of reference for the observers will be based on Indonesia’s experiences in welcoming similar missions from ASEAN Member States in Timor-Leste in 1999 and Aceh in 2003-2005, and Indonesia’s own mission to Southern Philippines. The Chair will promptly propose a model for the two countries’ consideration.
The issue was raised at the UNSC on February 14 in New York and ASEAN efforts were encouraged to resolve the issue. The Chair will inform the UNSC of ASEAN’s efforts in this endeavour.
“This is certainly a historic day for ASEAN. It is a major step forward to our community building efforts – but it is only the beginning and we shall have many more challenges to overcome as we move towards ASEAN Community 2015,” the Secretary-General added.
“The Secretariat itself, while pledging full support for the Chair’s efforts and Cambodia and Thailand’s commitment for a peaceful resolution to their differences, is embarking upon a programme of capacity enhancement for managing similar challenges in the future,” Dr Surin concluded.
The Chairman issued a statement following the Informal Meeting of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers. At the invitation of the Chairman, the ASEAN Secretary General, Foreign Ministers and their representatives met in Jakarta on February 22 to discuss recent regional and international development, including the recent border incidents between Cambodia and Thailand.
In this connection, pursuant to the earlier written communications, Indonesia, Chair of ASEAN, further briefed the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and their representatives on the result of the visits by the Foreign Minister of Indonesia to Phnom Penh and Bangkok on February 7-8, 2011, as well as on the meeting of the Security Council on February 14, 2011.
The Foreign Ministers of Cambodia and Thailand further briefed the ASEAN Foreign Ministers on the issue. Following extensive discussions among them, the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and their representatives.
• Welcome and support the reiteration by both Cambodia and Thailand, of their strong commitment to the principles contained in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia and the ASEAN Charter, including “settlement of differences or disputes by peaceful means” and “renunciation of the threat or use of force”, as well as the principles contained in the Charter of the United Nations;
• Welcome further the engagement of Cambodia and Thailand with Indonesia, Chair of ASEAN, in the latter’s efforts on behalf of ASEAN;
• Recall the support extended by the United Nations Security Council to ASEAN’s efforts;
• Support Cambodia’s and Thailand’s commitment, henceforth, to avoid further armed clashes as reflected in the initial high level talks between the military representatives of Cambodia and of Thailand, the most recent of which was on 19 February 2011;
• Welcome in this regard, the invitation by both Cambodia and Thailand for observers from Indonesia, current Chair of ASEAN, to respective side of the affected areas of the Cambodia-Thailand border, to observe the commitment by both sides to avoid further armed clashes between them, with the following basic mandate: “to assist and support the parties in respecting their commitment to avoid further armed clashes between them, by observing and reporting accurately, as well as impartially on complaints of violations and submitting its findings to each party through Indonesia, current Chair of ASEAN”;
• Call on Cambodia and Thailand to resume their bilateral negotiations, including through existing mechanisms, at the earliest possible opportunity, with appropriate engagement of Indonesia, current Chair of ASEAN, to support the two countries’ efforts to resolve the situation amicably;
• Welcome in this regard the future meetings respectively of the Thai-Cambodian Joint Commission on the Demarcation for Land Boundary and the General Border Committee at a date to be further determined;
• Request Indonesia, Chair of ASEAN, to continue ASEAN’s efforts in this regard.
Ministers also exchanged views on other regional and international issues, as well as issues related to ASEAN Community-building and ASEAN’s role in the region’s architecture building, including the forthcoming ASEAN Foreign Ministers retreat on East Asia Summit to be convened in Thailand in March 2011.