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Cambodian, Indonesian Officials Discuss Border Observation

Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, left, shakes hands with his counterpart Marty Natalegawa of Indonesia, before a meeting in Phnom Penh, on Monday.

Cambodian and Indonesian officials renewed talks on Monday over an observer mission to the contentious border with Thailand, where a sometimes violent military standoff has been under way since 2008.

The deployment of observers on the border near Preah Vihear temple would depend on a joint Thai-Cambodian border working group, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told reporters Monday, following a meeting with his Indonesian counterpart, Maty Natalegawa.

An observer mission would fall in line with recommendations from the International Court of Justice, which has said a demilitarized zone is necessary as the two sides seek to mark border land claimed by each.

“We talked about Indonesia observers in a troop-free area mandated by the International Court of Justice,” Hor Namhong said at a press conference in which reporters were not permitted questions.

“We hope to make good progress,” Natalegawa said. “So that the positive momentum that we have already on the issue can be maintained and that Thailand and Cambodia are able to resolve the matter in accordance to [the] IJC order, as well as with the hope and inspiration of Asean.”

A deployment of Indonesian troops would have to follow a meeting of the joint working group of the Cambodian-Thai Joint Border Committee.

Chhum Socheat, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, said Monday that Cambodian military officials are awaiting a response from Thailand on a meeting for the joint working group, which was established by both sides this year.