ASEAN chief calls for restrain in border dispute

Other News Materials 20 July 2008 06:12 (UTC +04:00)

ASEAN chief Surin Pitsuwan has called for "maximum restraint" in the border dispute between Cambodia and Thailand, while Cambodia has asked for UN intervention, news reports said Sunday.

Nearly 1,000 Cambodian troops and more than 500 Thai soldiers continue to face each other on the disputed territory.

Surin Pitsuwan, secretary-general of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and a former Thai former minister, urged ministers from the two countries to talk, The Sunday Times said.

They are set to attend the 41st ASEAN ministerial meeting starting late Sunday in Singapore.

"The ministers may wish to address the issue ... trying to encourage early resolution and maximum restraint, in order to avoid any repercussion on the image of the organization," Surin was quoted as saying.

Cambodia reportedly wants the UN to intervene.

The tense confrontation comes just as ASEAN foreign ministers are planning to discuss further integration and cooperation, dpa reported.

Referring to a possible bilateral meeting between Thai and Cambodia ministers, Surin said, "I think the ministers certainly will discuss the issue and try to encourage reconciliation as soon as possible."