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Archive for July 18th, 2011

08PHNOMPENH730 ENHANCING THE U.S.-CAMBODIA MILITARY RELATIONSHIP

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“167863”,”8/29/2008 10:21″,”08PHNOMPENH730″,

“Embassy Phnom Penh”,

“UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY”,””,

“VZCZCXRO1562

OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH

DE RUEHPF #0730/01 2421021

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

O 291021Z AUG 08

FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUEKDIA/DIA WASH DC PRIORITY

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY 0123

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 2316

RHMFIUU/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY”,

“UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PHNOM PENH 000730

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR D, P, EAP/FO, EAP/MLS, AND PM

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PBTS, MASS, MARR, TH, CB

SUBJECT: ENHANCING THE U.S.-CAMBODIA MILITARY RELATIONSHIP

 

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Following the first ever U.S.-Cambodian

Bilateral Defense Discussions (BDD), the U.S. Pacific Command

(PACOM) team, accompanied by the Charge d\’Affaires, called

upon Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense General

Tea Banh to highlight progress achieved in strengthening the

bilateral military relationship. The PACOM team described

plans to expand security assistance programs and cooperation

in a number of areas. Demonstrating Cambodia\’s commitment to

enhanced mil-to-mil cooperation, Tea Banh announced RGC

support for the installation of a Defense Attach in

Washington, D.C., affirmed Cambodia\’s commitment to host the

GPOI Capstone exercise in 2010, and committed to work to

enhance cooperation through the State Partnership Program and

upcoming Partner Nation Maritime Needs Assessment. The DPM

also raised Preah Vihear, noting that talks scheduled for

August 29 were postponed due to the unavailability of key

Thai contacts. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (U) The first ever bilateral defense discussions

illustrate the broadening and deepening of the U.S.-Cambodia

military-to-military relationship. This relationship has

grown significantly over the past few years, with three

recent ship visits and the expansion of security assistance

programs to the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF). During

the BDD, the PACOM-RCAF team agreed to regularize the

relationship by making BDDs such as this an annual event.

The DPM designated Colonel Hun Manet of the National Counter

Terrorism Center to serve as the point of contact for

preparations for the next meeting, anticipated for late

spring 2009. The PACOM team highlighted for Tea Banh

expanding U.S.-Cambodia cooperation through security

assistance programs in the areas of maritime security,

counter-terrorism, boarder security, and peacekeeping

operations.

 

3. (SBU) Perhaps most significant, Tea Banh announced the

intention of the RGC to meet next week to discuss the

possibility of installing a Cambodian Defense Attach (DATT)

in Washington, D.C. (NOTE: While the DPM announced the plans

to meet to discuss this issue, a senior officer from the

Cambodian Foreign Policy and Plans Department separately told

A/DATT that the Cambodians planned to announce their

intention to install a DATT next week. RCAF counterparts were

encouraging on the issue of finally assigning a DATT to D.C.,

however they cautioned about the challenges to achieving this

goal in the near term due to the need to coordinate closely

with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of

Finance and Economics, and the fiscal implications of opening

a DATT office in D.C. END NOTE.)

 

4. (U) The Minister also affirmed Cambodia\’s commitment to

host the Global Peacekeeping Operations Initiative (GPOI)

Capstone exercise and the creation of a dedicated working

group to begin preparations for the 2010 exercise. Tea Banh

expressed his appreciation for the invitation to observe the

upcoming 2009 exercise which will be held in Indonesia. Tea

Banh welcomed PACOM\’s announcement that the State Partnership

Program will soon be approved and announced the creation of a

working group to better collaborate on the preparations for

Cambodia\’s participation in this valuable program.

 

5. (SBU) Tea Banh also explained that the bilateral talks on

the Preah Vihear dispute planned for August 29 in Siem Reap

were unfortunately canceled due to some difficulties for

their Thai counterparts, referring to the recent political

unrest in Thailand. He informed the CDA that had the meeting

gone ahead as planed, he expected both sides to announce a

further withdrawal (or \”redeployement\”) of both countries\’

troops. The CDA expressed understanding for the postponement

but noted that further withdrawals would help reduce tensions

in the area.

 

6. (SBU) COMMENT: Throughout the meeting, Tea Banh appeared

more engaged and responsive to the issues raised than he has

in previous encounters, and he attempted to convey a sincere

appreciation for the strengthening military ties between the

two countries. (NOTE: General officers from the International

Relations Department later lamented to A/DATT that the

Minister\’s attempts to express his deep appreciation for the

expanding relationship were lost in translation. END NOTE.)

The military relationship has expanded significantly since

restrictions were lifted in early 2006. The successful first

BDD and strengthening of mil-to-mil ties demonstrate the

normalizing\” of our bilateral relationship. The first BDD

 

PHNOM PENH 00000730 002 OF 002

 

paves the way for even greater cooperation on security

issues. The instillation of a DATT in D.C. would help to

capitalize on these recent gains.

CAMPBELL

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Written by thaicables

July 18, 2011 at 7:02 am

08PHNOMPENH701 AMBASSADOR’S FAREWELL CALL ON FM HOR NAMHONG: DEEPER RELATIONS WITH A MORE MATURE CAMBODIA

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“166987”,”8/22/2008 10:02″,”08PHNOMPENH701″,

“Embassy Phnom Penh”,

“UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY”,

“08PHNOMPENH679″,”VZCZCXRO6424

OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH

DE RUEHPF #0701/01 2351002

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

O 221002Z AUG 08

FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 2304

INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUEKDIA/DIA WASH DC PRIORITY

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY 0110

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 2305

RHMFIUU/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY”,

“UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PHNOM PENH 000701

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR D, P, EAP/FO, EAP/MLS, and S/WCI.

Please also pass to USAID

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PBTS, MARR, TH, CB

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR\’S FAREWELL CALL ON FM HOR NAMHONG: DEEPER

RELATIONS WITH A MORE MATURE CAMBODIA

 

REF: PHNOM PENH 679

 

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. In an August 21 farewell call on Foreign Minister

Hor Namhong, the Ambassador congratulated the FM on his diplomacy in

respect to the dispute over Preah Vihear, highlighted the continued

strengthening of bilateral relations, expressed his optimism about

proposed KRT funding from the United States, and conveyed the

importance of a high level meeting between the UN\’s David Tolbert and

a representative from the RGC. FM Hor Namhong expressed his

commitment to not only settle the Preah Vihear dispute peacefully,

but to use the same strategy for the two smaller temples which are

also being contested. He also stressed the importance of U.S.

funding for the UN side of the KRT in order to deliver justice to the

Cambodian people. The FM rounded out the meeting by requesting U.S.

support for Cambodia\’s bid to become a non-permanent member of the UN

Security Council for a two year term beginning in 2013. END SUMMARY.

 

Improved Bilateral Relations

—————————–

 

2. (SBU) The FM expressed appreciation for improved U.S.-Cambodian

relations during the last few years. Hor Namhong vowed to continue

to work to strengthen the \”sanctity of a relationship which is

growing day to day,\” and specifically thanked the Ambassador for

support in the areas of health and education. The Ambassador

credited the Cambodian government for the improvements in bilateral

relations and stated his appreciation for the RGC\’s efforts to foster

better understanding and cooperation between the two countries. The

Ambassador noted that it will take considerably more time and

continued effort to overcome misunderstandings engendered over the

last fifty years, but said the close collaboration will continue

after his departure. To further emphasize this point, he told Hor

Namhong about Deputy Secretary Negroponte\’s proposed visit next

month, explaining that the Deputy Secretary will be the highest level

State representative to come to Cambodia in several years and that

his visit reflects the increasing importance the U.S. places on our

bilateral relations with Cambodia.

 

Preah Vihear: Peaceful Solution Imperative

——————————————

 

3. (SBU) The Ambassador praised Hor Namhong\’s diplomacy in response

to the Preah Vihear standoff. He described the FM\’s recent statement

to the press which compared the negotiations on Preah Vihear to a

\”steamroller,\” in that they are \”slow but moving ahead,\” to be

particularly astute. Hor Namhong noted that he was pleased with the

result of the recent talks with his Thai FM counterpart and the King

of Thailand, with all parties agreeing that a peaceful solution is

imperative for the two neighbors. However, his suggestion to use the

same type of diplomacy in relation to Ta Moan Thom and Ta Moan Touch,

two additional border temples which Thailand has occupied in the

past, was not commented on by his Thai interlocutors. Nonetheless,

Hor Namhong affirmed that once the area is stable, it is his

government\’s intention to reopen the international border crossing at

Preah Vihear to tourists entering from Thailand. Hor Namhong

mentioned that some UN Security Council members continue to watch the

issue closely and noted that the Cambodian permanent representative

intended to provide UNSC members with an update on the success, so

far, of the bilateral approach.

 

Khmer Rouge Tribunal: The road ahead

————————————

 

4. (SBU) The conversation then quickly turned to the topic of the

KRT, with Hor Namhong expressing his concern that the UN side is

facing a shortfall of funding. He stated the ECCC needs

approximately 40-50 million dollars to see it through to the end of

2009, and appealed to the U.S. government to contribute. The

Ambassador responded that the embassy is deeply committed to a just

accounting for KR-era crimes and noted that the issue is being

considered at the highest levels of the Department. The Ambassador

speculated that if other countries were to see America donating, they

would follow suit and lift the tribunal out of financial jeopardy.

The Ambassador noted recent allegations of corruption, which a RGC

meeting with the UN\’s David Tolbert will only help to resolve. He

urged Hor Namhong to ensure David Tolbert is received by the

government at a high level. (Note: in a later meeting, the Ambassador

was told by DPM Sok An that he would meet with Tolbert. End Note.)

 

UN Security Council: A request for support

——————————————

 

PHNOM PENH 00000701 002 OF 002

 

5. (SBU) Hor Namhong concluded the meeting by appealing to the U.S.

for support of Cambodia\’s 2012 bid to become a non-permanent member

of the UN Security Council in 2013 and mentioned that ASEAN is behind

the nomination. Given its recent history with genocide, civil war,

and a UN transition, Cambodia is well placed to sit on the Council

and share knowledge with other members. The Ambassador responded

that Cambodia\’s experiences would certainly bring an important

perspective to UNSC deliberations (Note: While ASEAN apparently backs

Cambodia\’s bid, it appears that the ROK is breaking Asian solidarity

and competing for the 2013 seat. End Note.)

 

6. (SBU) COMMENT: As reflected in the congenial and mutually

respectful meeting between Hor Namhang and the Ambassador, the

U.S.-Cambodian relationship is clearly stronger and more cooperative

than in previous years. The Cambodian government\’s willingness to

accept U.S. advice and exercise restraint, both physical and verbal,

in its recent dealings with Thailand has demonstrated a new sense of

calmness and maturity for this young democracy. Indeed, in a large

number of areas, including human rights, Burma, trafficking,

Montagnards, North Korea and the KRT, Cambodia has demonstrated a

surprising degree of trust and confidence in U.S. advice and

guidance.

 

Mussomeli

Written by thaicables

July 18, 2011 at 7:01 am

08PHNOMPENH694 AMBASSADOR’S FAREWELL CALL ON PM HUN SEN: IMPROVING SITUATION AT PREAH VIHEAR AND IMPROVING BILATERAL RELATIONS WITH THE U.S.

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“166782”,”8/21/2008 4:36″,”08PHNOMPENH694″,

“Embassy Phnom Penh”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,

“08PHNOMPENH679″,”VZCZCXRO5252

OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH

DE RUEHPF #0694/01 2340436

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 210436Z AUG 08

FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUEKDIA/DIA WASH DC PRIORITY

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY 0108

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 2302

RHMFISS/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY”,

“C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02

PHNOM PENH 000694

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR D, P, EAP/FO, AND EAP/MLS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/20/2018

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PBTS, MARR, TH, CB

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR\’S FAREWELL CALL ON PM HUN SEN:

IMPROVING SITUATION AT PREAH VIHEAR AND IMPROVING BILATERAL

RELATIONS WITH THE U.S.

 

REF: PHNOM PENH 679

 

Classified By: Classified by: Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli for reasons 1

.4(b) and (d)

 

1. (C) SUMMARY. During the Ambassador\’s farewell call on

Prime Minister Hun Sen August 20, the Prime Minister thanked

the U.S. for its encouragement for a peaceful resolution to

the dispute over Preah Vihear and expressed his appreciation

for the Ambassador\’s contribution to improved relations

between the two countries. PM Hun Sen confided that although

the results of the Cambodian-Thai bilateral talks earlier

this week still need to be put before the Thai cabinet for

approval, the results \”exceeded (his) expectations.\” The PM

indicated that both sides have agreed to resolve the dispute

through the Joint Border Commission, and in the context of

broader issues. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (SBU) Recognizing that historically U.S.-Cambodian

relations have been fraught with misunderstandings and

mistrust, PM Hun Sen expressed his appreciation for the

marked improvements over the past three years. He

highlighted the increasingly robust mil-to-mil relationship,

exemplified by recent U.S. ship visits and cooperation on MIA

issues, as well as the presence of Peace Corps volunteers

throughout Cambodia as indicative of the improved level of

trust between the two countries. The Ambassador credited Hun

Sen\’s leadership and efforts to understand the U.S. as

contributing to building a better working relationship to the

benefit of both countries, while cautioning that 50 years of

difficult relations will require continued attention by both

governments to ensure a fully normal and multifaceted

relationship in the future.

 

3. (C) The Ambassador applauded Hun Sen for exercising

patience and courage in avoiding armed confrontation over

Preah Vihear. Hun Sen confided that the dispute, arising so

close to the national election, posed a great challenge to

him and he expressed his gratitude for U.S. support for a

peaceful resolution to the conflict. He recalled that

tensions had risen to the point where Thai and Cambodian

soldiers had guns pointed directly at each other. However,

he gave the order for Cambodian troops to stand down, thus

abating tensions and allowing room for a diplomatic solution.

Hun Sen cited the Russian use of force in Georgia to

illustrate the point that Thailand and Cambodia narrowly

escaped a similar fate.

 

4. (C) Dismissing local media\’s criticism of the outcome of

the August 18-19 bilateral meeting as narrow-minded

nationalism, Hun Sen stated that FM Hor Namhong briefed him

on the outcome of the talks and that the results \”exceeded\”

his expectations. He noted that details of what had been

agreed would not be discussed publicly until approval by the

Thai cabinet. Hun Sen emphasized that the border dispute

would be resolved in the context of other areas of

cooperation with Thailand, perhaps referring to the Joint

Border Commission, which local media report will convene in

October to take up the border issue. He also stressed that

FM Hor Namhong\’s audience with the Thai king sends a positive

message regarding both sides\’ commitment to cooperate to

resolve the problem peacefully.

 

5. (C) The Ambassador explained continued U.S. support for

resolution of the dispute. He noted the advantages of a

bilateral approach, warning that, while still an option,

resort to the UNSC could damage relations with Thailand in

the long term. He also expressed his hope that the

statesmanship demonstrated by Hun Sen during this crisis will

be applied as wisely to his dealings with the political

opposition following CPP\’s victory at the July polls.

 

6. (C) Reflecting on the progress achieved in U.S.-Cambodian

relations, Hun Sen mused that during the 1960s he engaged in

anti-U.S. protests. The Ambassador replied that ironically

during this same time, he was briefly expelled from school

for organizing protests against the U.S. invasion of

Cambodia. The Ambassador explained that while Cambodia has

changed greatly since then, challenges remain in educating

Washington to modernize perceptions of Cambodia, which are

currently colored by the events of the 1970s. He suggested

that the upcoming Deputy Secretary\’s visit to Cambodia

presents an opportunity to enhance U.S. understanding of

 

PHNOM PENH 00000694 002 OF 002

 

Cambodia in the twenty-first century and to bring the two

countries even closer together.

 

7. (C) COMMENT: The Prime Minister has demonstrated

increasing maturity, reflected in his government\’s restrained

responses to a number of challenges over the past months.

Hun Sen\’s cool-headedness in the face of armed conflict with

an important neighbor is but one example. Another would

appear to be the entrenchment of some modest democratic gains

within the country. While there remains room for significant

further progress, Hun Sen deserves some credit for these

positive developments, as well as progress in the bilateral

relationship.

MUSSOMELI

Written by thaicables

July 18, 2011 at 7:00 am

08BANGKOK2487 THAI CAMBODIAN BORDER DISPUTE: FOREIGN MINISTERS AGREE ON INTERIM MEASURES

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“166676”,”8/20/2008 10:34″,”08BANGKOK2487″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,

“08BANGKOK2428|08BANGKOK2464|08PHNOMPENH679|08STATE86724”,

“VZCZCXRO4665

PP RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #2487 2331034

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

P 201034Z AUG 08

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4052

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY

RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 0972

RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 6251

RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 4827

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 8954

RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY”,”C O N F I D E N T I A L BANGKOK 002487

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR EAP/MLS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/20/2018

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, TH

SUBJECT: THAI CAMBODIAN BORDER DISPUTE: FOREIGN MINISTERS

AGREE ON INTERIM MEASURES

 

REF: A. BANGKOK 2464

B. STATE 86724

C. BANGKOK 2428

D. PHNOM PENH 679

 

Classified By: Charge D\’Affaires James F. Entwistle, reasons 1.4 (b) an

d (d)

 

1. (C) Summary: In a August 19 meeting the Thai and Cambodian

Foreign Ministers agreed on measures designed to provide for

a way forward in dealing with the disputed Preah Vihear

temple. As previewed by Thai MFA officials last week, the

two sides agreed to reduce the number of troops in the area

around the temple, recommended scheduling the next Joint

Border Committee (JBC) meeting in October to discuss

surveying and demarcating the disputed area, and to begin

discussions regarding the Ta Moan temple. The two sides were

unable, however, to come to an agreement on mechanisms to

move forward on dealing with the Cambodian settlement located

within the disputed area. End Summary.

 

2. (C) Thai Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag and Cambodian Foreign

Minister Hor Namhong agreed to a series of measures during

their August 18-19 meeting regarding the disputed Preah

Vihear temple. While the measures do not set out a path to

resolve the dispute, they do provide for provide for

mechanisms to relieve tension and to facilitate further

talks. Thai MFA Deputy Spokesperson Thani Thongphakdi told

us that the bilateral talks are an ongoing process but that

both sides had demonstrated more flexibility in trying to

accommodate each sides\’ limitations in their negotiating

positions.

 

AGREEMENT TO PROCEED THROUGH BORDER COMMITTEES

——————————————— –

 

3. (C) The two foreign ministers agreed to convene August 29

in Cambodia a meeting of the Regional Border Committee (RBC)

to discuss the second phase of troop redeployment out of the

Keo Sikha Kiri Svara pagoda in the temple. The Thai MFA

confirmed to us that Royal Thai Army Second Area Commander

Lieutenant General Sujit Sitthiprapa would lead the Thai

delegation at the RBC meeting. The two sides also agreed to

recommend to their governments that the next meeting of the

Joint Border Committee (JBC) be held the first week of

October. The foreign ministers also recommended that legal

experts join the JBC to discuss a plan to demarcate the

disputed area at Preah Vihear and to discuss the Ta Moan

temple (Ref D). The foreign ministers would meet again after

the JBC meeting. As such, the end result of the foreign

ministers\’ meeting was an endorsement of the JBC as the

primary mechanism to resolve the dispute.

 

4. (C) As explained to us earlier by Thai MFA officials (Ref

A.), the Constitutional Court\’s interpretation of Article 190

of the Thai Constitution compels the MFA to seek approval

from Thai government for this interim agreement. Media

reports indicate that the interim agreement will go to the

Cabinet next week and afterwards to the Parliament for

approval.

 

5. (C) Jakrit Srivali, speechwriter for FM Tej, attended the

meeting and told us that despite both sides\’ demonstrated

flexibility during the meeting, the foreign ministers were

unable to agree on a provisional arrangement that would lay

out a framework for the redeployment of troops or to direct

the JBC to address the Cambodian settlement near the disputed

temple (Ref A.) As reported reftel, this settlement has

become a key issue for the RTG as the Thai consider it to be

a breach of the 2000 MOU on the survey and demarcation of the

land Thai-Cambodia boundary. As such, the provisional

arrangement remains a sticking point for the foreign

ministers.

ENTWISTLE

Written by thaicables

July 18, 2011 at 6:59 am

08PHNOMPENH679 CAMBODIA-THAILAND BORDER: CAMBODIA WITHDRAWING MOST TROOPS, PREPARING DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS, STILL CONCERNED ABOUT REMAINING THAI TROOPS

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“166195”,”8/15/2008 8:54″,”08PHNOMPENH679″,

“Embassy Phnom Penh”,”CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN”,

“08BANGKOK2428|08JAKARTA1552|08PHNOMPENH664|08STATE86724”,

“VZCZCXRO1506

OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH

DE RUEHPF #0679/01 2280854

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 150854Z AUG 08

FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0639

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 2296

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY

RHMFISS/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY

RUEKDIA/DIA WASH DC PRIORITY

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY 0105

RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY”,

“C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02

PHNOM PENH 000679

 

NOFORN

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR EAP/FO, EAP/MLS, P, D,

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/15/2018

TAGS: PREL, KTIA, TH, CB

SUBJECT: CAMBODIA-THAILAND BORDER: CAMBODIA WITHDRAWING

MOST TROOPS, PREPARING DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS, STILL CONCERNED

ABOUT REMAINING THAI TROOPS

 

REF: A. STATE 86724

B. JAKARTA 1552

C. BANGKOK 2428

D. PHNOM PENH 664

 

PHNOM PENH 00000679 001.2 OF 002

 

Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOSEPH A. MUSSOMELI FOR REASONS 1.4 (B, D)

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: Ambassador August 15 delivered Ref A

demarche to Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, noting ongoing

concerns about the troop presence in the vicinity of Preah

Vihear temple and the need to continue to exercise restraint.

Saying the U.S. did not support one side over the other, and

noting recent reports of planned troop withdrawals as well as

the scheduled August 18-19 bilateral FornMin talks in

Thailand, the Ambassador emphasized that we support

diplomatic efforts by both sides to resolve the border issues

through bilateral channels, if at all feasible. Hor Namhong

emphasized the need to remove all troops. He complained of a

second Thai incursion that would have to be addressed in the

August 18-19 bilateral talks with Thailand. He did not rule

out UNSC consideration. Ambassador, echoing the Secretary,

noted that UNSC consideration would be premature at this

time, while not ruling it out altogether. Embassy learned

that most troops should be withdrawn by 1600 on August 16.

END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) Ambassador August 15 delivered Ref A demarche to

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong,

noting ongoing concerns about the troop presence in the

vicinity of Preah Vihear temple and the need to continue to

exercise restraint. Ambassador noted an identical demarche

was being delivered in Bangkok. Saying the U.S. did not

support one side over the other, and noting recent reports of

planned troop withdrawals as well as the scheduled August

18-19 bilateral FornMin talks in Thailand, the Ambassador

emphasized that we support diplomatic efforts by both sides

to resolve the border issues through bilateral channels, if

at all feasible.

 

Better to Remove All Troops

—————————

 

3. (C) FM Hor Namhong confirmed that Cambodia and Thailand

had agreed to withdraw all troops in the vicinity of the Keo

Sikha Kiri Svara Pagoda (NOTE: sitting below Preah Vihear in

disputed territory), except for ten soldiers each inside that

pagoda\’s walls and another 20 each in the area around the

pagoda. He agreed that troops facing off against each other

on disputed territory could lead to unexpected consequences:

\”With a stand-off like that, we don\’t know what could

happen,\” he said. He noted, however, that in a July 28

meeting with Thai Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag, they had

decided in principle to remove \”all\” troops from the area

around Preah Vihear, but conceded that Cambodian Minister of

Defense Secretary of State Gen. Neang Phat had made the

agreement for removal of troops on the ground in meetings

with Thai military counterparts on Aug. 12-13.

 

4. (C) Remarking on the positive bilateral step to remove

troops, the Ambassador agreed that it would be best if all

troops were withdrawn from the disputed territory, but

emphasized the significance of reaching bilateral agreement.

If the issues could not be resolved at the bilateral level,

then we would support Cambodia working within the ASEAN

context, he said.

 

A New Problem: Ta Moan Temple

——————————

 

5. (C) Hor Namhong expressed the RGC\’s desire to reach

bilateral understanding on the Preah Vihear temple area. He

said he would also be forced to raise a \”new problem\” on the

border at the Prasart Ta Moan area 150 kilometers to the west

of Preah Vihear, where Thai troops had dramatically increased

their presence and entered on new territory in another

overlapping border area. The Thai soldiers also constructed

a fence and other structures on the disputed territory.

Citing an August 14 letter to Thai Foreign Minister Tej

Bunnag, he said the area was clearly within the territory of

Cambodia, and he was now clarifying the situation with his

 

PHNOM PENH 00000679 002.2 OF 002

 

Thai counterpart. \”Like it or not, we must resolve this

issue,\” during the August 18-19 talks, he said.

 

6. (C) Hor Namhong passed a copy of the letter which Post

is transmitting to EAP/MLS. The claim to territory is based

on 1908 minutes of the Commission for the Delimitation of

Frontiers Between Indochina and Siam, referring to the \”Route

named Prasart Tamone.\” Citing good neighborliness and the

ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation the letter requests

that Thailand: (1) remove the fence and new structures; (2)

withdraw Thai troops from the area and pull down a military

camp at the temple; and (3) return the temple complex area to

the status quo ante \”before being occupied by the Thai armed

forces.\”

 

Diplomatic Commitment; Talk of UN

———————————

 

7. (C) On the August 18-19 talks in Hua Hin, Hor Namhong

said that he would propose that the Joint Border Commission

(JBC) be tasked with handling border discussions and that

this be supplemented with legal experts\’ meetings. In the

August 14 letter he also refers to \”jurists from both sides\”

attempting to find a solution to the problem. Embassy

understands from MOD sources that military leaders from both

sides will participate in the Hua Hin talks to further

elaborate on planned troop withdrawals. Minister of Defense

Tea Bahn and MOD Secretary of State Neang Phat are part of

the Cambodian delegation.

 

8. (C/NF) Hor Namhong said that negotiations would probably

take \”days and days\” but that Cambodia was willing to \”talk

and talk and talk\” to reach a resolution. Turning to the

first bilateral FornMin talks on July 28, Hor Namhong averred

that the prospect of UN Security Council consideration of the

issue had \”pushed (Thai PM) Samak into asking for the meeting

between foreign ministers.\” Ambassador repeated that the

U.S. believes it premature for the UN Security Council to

consider this issue at this time and that resolving the

border dispute bilaterally or with ASEAN would be better for

both sides. A bilateral solution would be one that both

sides could live with for generations to come. Hor Namhong

noted that UNSC consideration could not be entirely ruled

out, but held out great hopes for the border dispute to

proceed on a bilateral track.

 

Troops Moving on August 16

—————————

 

9. (C) MOD Secretary of State Gen. Neang Phat told A/DATT

August 15 that he had negotiated the troop removals from the

Keo Sikha Kiri Svara Pagoda and that Cambodia would soon move

its troops back to their barracks. The draw-down to ten

troops for each side in the temple and 20 on the perimeter

would commence at 1600 hours on August 16. Neang Phat added

the withdrawals were in preparation for the talks the

following Monday. RCAF Deputy Commander in Chief Gen Pol

Saroeun told A/DATT mid-day that there may be some troop

withdrawals from the Ta Moan area, as well.

 

Comment:

——-

 

10. (C) We are heartened by indicators of positive progress

made over the past few days, which suggests the two sides are

close to removing most of the troops. The position that all

troops should be removed and that the border area be returned

to the status quo ante before July 15 remains the most

responsible approach to achieving a bilateral diplomatic

solution. However, until all troops are actually

re-deployed, the situation could easily deteriorate to the

tense stand-offs seen just after armed Thai military might

entered onto land long occupied by Cambodia.

MUSSOMELI

Written by thaicables

July 18, 2011 at 6:58 am

08BANGKOK2428 THAI-CAMBODIAN DISPUTE OVER PREAH VIHEAR: BILATERAL MEETINGS AIM TO DEFUSE TENSIONS

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“165872”,”8/13/2008 10:30″,”08BANGKOK2428″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,”08STATE78884″,

“VZCZCXRO9414

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SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR EAP/MLS; PARIS PASS USMISSION UNESCO

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/13/2018

TAGS: PREL, MOPS, TH, CB

SUBJECT: THAI-CAMBODIAN DISPUTE OVER PREAH VIHEAR:

BILATERAL MEETINGS AIM TO DEFUSE TENSIONS

 

REF: STATE 78884

 

Classified By: DCM James F. Entwistle, reason 1.4 (b) and (d).

 

1. (C) Summary and Comment: Meetings between Thai and

Cambodian regional military commanders in Thailand\’s Surin

Province August 13 and between Foreign Ministers planned

August 18-19 in Hua Hin indicate bilateral efforts to reduce

tensions in the spat over the territory near the Khmer Preah

Vihear temple are underway. We continue to believe that the

Preah Vihear dispute is one best solved bilaterally by

Thailand and Cambodia within the framework of the 2000

Thai-Cambodian Memorandum of Understanding To Survey and

Demarcate the Land Boundary (MOU), and do not recommend

additional U.S. steps, beyond our current position of urging

both sides to exercise restraint and work together to reach a

compromise (reftel). End Summary and Comment.

 

First Military Regional Commanders…

————————————-

 

2. (U) Thailand\’s Second Army Area Commanding General LTG

Suchit Sitthiprapha hosted his Cambodian counterpart, 4th

Region Commanding General LTG Temon, August 13 in Surin

Province; the intended focus of the meeting was the

repositioning of troops from the contested border area

adjacent to the Preah Vihear temple, according to press

reports. Suchit and Temon issued a joint statement mid-day,

agreeing that both sides would reduce the number of soldiers

near the temple to an equal number in the near future,

without providing further details of how many and when.

 

…to be followed by Foreign Ministers

————————————–

 

3. (SBU) Thai FM Tej Bunnag will host his Cambodian

counterpart Hor Namhong in Hua Hin August 18-19 to advance

diplomatic efforts to address the dispute. The Thai MFA\’s

East Asia division told us that the focus of the meetings

would be on two issues of immediate concern: redeployment by

both sides of troops still essentially co-located in the

disputed area, and the issuance of documents to be used as

common terms of reference by both sides. These documents

would facilitate further discussion at technical levels

(i.e., within the Joint Boundary Commission). FM Tej would

confirm at the August 18-19 meetings that border disputes

between Thailand and Cambodia should be solved amicably and

peacefully by the two countries, according to the MFA.

JOHN

Written by thaicables

July 18, 2011 at 6:55 am

08BANGKOK2359 AMBASSADOR DISCUSSES LAO HMONG, BURMA, SOUTH, AND PREAH VIHEAR WITH NSC SECGEN

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“164819”,”8/5/2008 4:45″,”08BANGKOK2359″,

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SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/05/2018

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PINS, PREF, SCUL, UNESCO, UNGA, BM, TH, CB

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR DISCUSSES LAO HMONG, BURMA, SOUTH, AND

PREAH VIHEAR WITH NSC SECGEN

 

REF: A. BANGKOK 2294 (MFA ON TEMPLE TALKS)

B. STATE 79734 (PROTECTING LAO HMONG)

 

Classified By: Ambassador Eric G. John, reason: 1.4 (b) and (d).

 

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) The Ambassador paid an introductory call on National

Security Council Secretary General Surapol Puanaiyaka on

August 4, in advance of Surapol\’s participation in the

upcoming POTUS visit. Surapol appeared receptive to points

the Ambassador made on Lao Hmong migrants, Burmese refugees,

Preah Vihear temple, and southern Thailand. End Summary.

 

REFUGEES

——–

 

2. (C) The Ambassador on August 4 paid a courtesy call on

National Security Council Secretary General Surapol

Puanaiyaka during which he addressed the importance of

Thailand\’s continued assistance to refugees. Drawing on ref

B points, the Ambassador emphasized that the RTG needs an

improved screening process for Hmong migrants — in

particular, a transparent screening process that meets

international standards. The Ambassador stressed that this

issue is an important priority for the United States.

Surapol said he understood the priority that the United

States placed on the Hmong, and promised to work closely with

the Embassy.

 

3. (C) The Ambassador thanked Surapol for the RTG\’s historic

assistance for Burmese refugees in Thailand, and for RTG

assistance in facilitating FLOTUS access to Mae Sot during

the upcoming visit of President Bush. The Ambassador also

noted the important role Thailand could play in promoting

democratic reform in Burma.

 

PREAH VIHEAR

————

 

4. (C) Surapol confided that the divergent views on the

disposition of the Preah Vihear temple continued to

complicate RTG relations with Cambodia, and mentioned that it

would be discussed further when Parliament reconvened on

August 6. He said that tensions decreased after the

Cambodian national elections, but he worried about the

\”psychological impact\” of a ceremony held by Prime Minister

Hun Sen\’s wife at the temple site on August 1. NSC Director

of Border and Defense Security Affairs Phonchat Bunnak, also

attending the meeting, stressed the sensitivity of the

prospective relocation of Cambodians living at the temple

site. The Ambassador reiterated that the USG viewed the

issue as a bilateral problem and supported the Thai position

that the issue did not warrant attention by the UN Security

Council.

 

SOUTHERN THAILAND

—————–

 

5. (C) The Ambassador inquired about Thailand\’s relations

with Malaysia. Surapol said that relations were strong, but

problems persisted in Thailand\’s southernmost provinces. The

Ambassador stressed that the U.S. viewed the conflict in

southern Thailand as an internal issue. Surapol thanked the

Ambassador, explaining that U.S. involvement in southern

matters could further complicate the situation.

 

COMMENT

——-

 

6. (C) Despite having been in his current position for nearly

three months, Surapol was not prepared for a substantive

discussion. He stressed to the Ambassador that he was still

familiarizing himself with various issues and asked for his

understanding. Surapol expressed his intention to travel to

Washington in 2009 to meet counterparts.

 

JOHN

Written by thaicables

July 18, 2011 at 6:53 am