ASEAN meets for solution to Thai-Cambodian dispute

Updated: 2011-02-21 20:10
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JAKARTA - ASEAN foreign ministers are gathering in Jakarta for an Indonesia-facilitated urgent meeting slated for Tuesday to discuss possible solutions to the recent border conflict between Cambodia and Thailand over the disputed area surrounding the ancient Hindu Temple of Preah Vihear, a statement issued by the ASEAN Secretariat said here on Monday.

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The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has, for the first time, called upon ASEAN to ensure an effective dialogue in search of a lasting solution to the border dispute between two Member States.

"UNSC's open and official support for conciliation efforts to the ASEAN Chair is a sign that the United Nations has faith in ASEAN to help its member states find amicable regional solutions to bilateral problems such as this,"said the secretary-general of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan.

Last Monday, the Foreign Minister of Indonesia Marty Natalegawa participated in an urgent UNSC meeting in New York to deliberate on the recent military incidents along the Cambodian-Thai border. This was the first time the UNSC has ever taken up a bilateral ASEAN issue. Indonesia was invited in its capacity as the current chair of ASEAN.

The UNSC's decision to entrust this important task to ASEAN is a positive evolution of ASEAN as a regional organization to shoulder its responsibilities.

The ASEAN Charter clearly stipulates that ASEAN must strive " to maintain and enhance peace, security and stability in the region." "ASEAN is certainly rising to the occasion," Dr Surin affirmed.