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Cambodia Persists in Asean Border Resolution

Cambodia’s foreign minister said Wednesday he would continue push to put Cambodia’s border dispute with Thailand on the Asean agenda, following reports in Thai media that Bangkok officials were misquoted in their desire to abandon bilateral solutions.

Both sides have attempted to resolve the dispute among themselves since July 2008, when troops amassed on the border amid heightening tensions. Little has come of a series of talks between military officials, diplomats and state leaders.

A Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman said this week his minister had been quoted out of context as saying Thailand would seek a “neutral” body to facilitate resolution, a statement that led Cambodia to push for the border dispute to be included on a summit agenda when Asean leaders meet later this month.

However, Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong told reporters Wednesday Cambodia was awaiting an official response from the Thais, not media reports, or Prime Minister Hun Sen would raise the border issue at the Oct. 23-25 Asean summit.

“The border issue is an important problem, and we cannot solve this issue following spokesmen or the press,” Hor Namhong said. “Cambodia has until now not received an official response from the Thai side. If the Thais don’t respond [officially], we will raise up this issue at the Asean summit.”

Panitan Watanayagorn, deputy secretary-general for the Thai prime minister, said from Bangkok the government would be sending an official response soon, and he encouraged more bilateral attempts solve the border issue.