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that most troops should be withdrawn by 1600 on August 16.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

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