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08BANGKOK3366 AMBASSADOR RAISES UNGA RESOLUTIONS, THAI-CAMBODIA, AND ASEAN WITH MFA PERMSEC VIRASAKDI

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SECTION 01 OF 03 BANGKOK 003366

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR EAP MARCIEL AND MLS, NSC FOR PHU

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/13/2018

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, TH

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR RAISES UNGA RESOLUTIONS, THAI-CAMBODIA,

AND ASEAN WITH MFA PERMSEC VIRASAKDI

 

REF: STATE 117889

 

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

 

1. (C) Summary. Ambassador advocated passage of UNGA Third

Committee resolutions on Iran, Burma, and North Korea and

rejection of no-action motions with MFA Permanent Secretary

Virasakdi Futrakul November 10. PermSec Virasakdi reiterated

the long-standing Thai position to abstain on all

country-specific human rights resolutions, but he pledged to

consider the U.S. request to abstain from or be absent during

the no-action motions. On Thai-Cambodia relations, Virasakdi

previewed Joint Border Committee meetings and reiterated Thai

concerns about the alleged Cambodian use of landmines on the

border which had precipitated mid-October skirmishes.

Ambassador underscored U.S. support for the border dispute to

be resolved bilaterally through diplomatic negotiations.

Virasakdi provided an update on Thai preparations for the

series of ASEAN summits in mid-December and confirmed that

the Thai would invite U.S. Ambassador for ASEAN Affairs, EAP

DAS Scot Marciel, to attend the open events associated with

the ASEAN meetings. End Summary.

 

UNGA resolutions on Iran, Burma, North Korea

——————————————–

2. (C) Drawing from reftel instructions, Ambassador stressed

U.S. interest in the passage of upcoming country resolutions

on Iran, Burma, and North Korea in the UNGA\’s Third

Committee, and our concerns about no-motion actions designed

to cut off serious debate entirely. The U.S. considered

no-action motions counterproductive, undermining the purpose

of the Third Committee. In light of Thailand\’s track record

of supporting no-action motions, Ambassador asked PermSec

Virasakdi to abstain or at least consider being absent during

expected no-action motions raised by Iran and Burma.

 

3. (C) PermSec Virasakdi said that Thailand would consider

the U.S. request on abstaining from or being absent during

the no-action motions; he said that he would consult with the

Thai mission in New York. (Note: Thailand traditionally has

voted yes on all no-action motions).

 

4. (C) On the country resolutions, Virasakdi reiterated the

long-standing Thai position, which he said dated to 2000,

when Thailand was on the Human Rights Council and he served

as the Thai PermRep in Geneva: Thailand abstained on all such

resolutions. As a matter of principle, Thailand did not

consider that country-specific resolutions advanced the human

rights situation in the affected countries, because the

resolutions themselves became overly politicized, with the

focus on building coalitions in the relevant international

body, not addressing the actual conditions. Thailand also

did not feel comfortable being lobbied heavily by both sides,

Virasakdi acknowledged. To avoid this diplomatic pressure,

it therefore abstained on all country-specific resolutions;

however, Thailand did support resolutions by issue, such as

the rights of children, or the situation for women, since the

approach was more advisory than judgmental.

 

Thai-Cambodia: negotiations resume

———————————-

5. (C) Virasakdi noted that the Thai-Cambodian Joint Border

Committee had resumed its meeting earlier on November 10.

The November 10-11 session would focus on the legal documents

to be used as the basis for discussions going forward; he

predicted there would inevitably be some disagreements. The

Thai maintained that the basis for discussion should be the

1904 Franco-Siam Treaty, which enshrined watersheds as the

principle to define the border. The Cambodians insisted on

using a 1907 French map which did not correspond to the

Treaty or known watersheds, he stated.

 

6. (C) The talks would take a long time, Virasakdi stressed.

Cambodia threatened to involve third parties — the UNSC, or

the International Court of Justice — if progress was not

quick enough. Ambassador reiterated the U.S. view that the

Thai-Cambodia dispute was best resolved bilaterally, not by

the UNSC.

 

7. (C) Virasakdi said that Thailand was prepared to defend

 

BANGKOK 00003366 002 OF 003

 

its interests in such bodies but had warned the Cambodians

that such moves would have negative consequences. Thai

public opinion would become embittered towards Cambodia, and

the Thai government would not be willing to cooperate on any

Joint Development Area projects in the Gulf of Thailand,

which he suggested offered the potential of \”hundreds of

millions of dollars\” of benefits to both sides. Cambodia

would have to decide which was more important: \”a parking lot

near Preah Vihear in the disputed 4.6 square km area,\” or

such greater economic cooperation.

 

8. (C) In the November 12 meeting of Foreign Ministers, the

Thai expected the Cambodians to raise two additional temples

elsewhere along the border; for their part, the Thai would

raise a series of small border casinos the Cambodians had

built in disputed territory which the Thai maintained

violated the terms of the 2000 MOU (note: we will report on

the FM meeting septel).

 

9. (C) Virasakdi reiterated the Thai view of how the

mid-October border skirmish developed. He suggested that Hun

Sen had been \”misinformed\” about a Thai personnel shift

change, and had been told instead that 300 Thai troops had

\”invaded.\” The Thai explanation was that 20 deminers had

been working inside Thai territory, supported by 60 unarmed

paramilitaries, to clear the area of mines after two Thai

soldiers had lost their legs in landmine explosions the

previous week. Thai deminers had found four freshly planted

mines, disarmed/dug up two, and left flags to mark the

remaining two; one was linked to a 60mm artillery shell,

clearly designed to cause additional damage. The Thai

delegation found the foot of one of the Thai amputee victims

seven meters high in a tree, Virasakdi alleged. When the

Thai returned the day of the skirmish, they discovered that

Cambodian forces had removed the mines in the meantime.

Virasakdi claimed the mines were of a type that Cambodia had

declared under the Ottawa Convention; they initially had

3500, and had retained 200 for \’training purposes\’ for the

Cambodia Mine Action Center.

 

ASEAN – Summit and Charter

————————–

10. (SBU) Noting he had just returned from the ASEAN Senior

Officials Meeting (SOM) in Pattaya to discuss the ASEAN

Summit, Virasakdi confirmed that Thai PM Somchai had approved

inviting Ambassadors for ASEAN Affairs from dialogue

countries, including EAP DAS Scot Marciel. The dialogue

partner Ambassadors would be invited to attend the three-four

open functions on the program, including the opening and

Global Forum planned for December 18. Other attendees at the

SOM had pushed to shorten the summit program planned for

Chiang Mai in order to finish the ASEAN-UN summit on December

17. This would allow heads of government to depart Thailand

after the expected group audience with King Bhumibol in

Bangkok, rather than returning to Chiang Mai.

 

11. (SBU) Thai ratification of the ASEAN Charter awaited the

King\’s signature on the implementing legislation already

passed, as well as publication in the Royal Gazette,

Virasakdi said. He had talked to deputy Principal Private

Secretary Krit about expediting signature/publication by

November 15 to allow the Charter to come into force at the

Summit, that might not occur, Virasakdi acknowledged. Thai

parliamentary approval would be necessary for six or seven of

the 25 outcome documents for the various ASEAN meetings in

Chiang Mai; the Thai government would hold an extraordinary

session of the Thai parliament at the end of November to seek

approval to sign the documents.

 

12. (SBU) Australia had proposed an East Asian Summit (EAS)

Joint Statement on the Global Financial Crisis, Virasakdi

noted, but China had some procedural objections remaining.

ASEAN 3 (China, Japan, South Korea) had agreed on its own

statement on financial cooperation building on the Chiang Mai

Initiative Fund; Thailand was hopeful the broader EAS

cooperation statement would also materialize. The Pattaya

SOM had adopted a draft statement on Disaster Management

Cooperation, he added.

 

13. (C) Ambassador asked about the possible impact on the

 

BANGKOK 00003366 003 OF 003

 

ASEAN summit if the Constitution Court ordered the

dissolution of the ruling People\’s Power Party (PPP) prior to

mid-December. Citing the example of the Philippines having

postponed the ASEAN summit meetings several years ago at the

last moment when a typhoon struck, Virasakdi replied that if

the Thai government were not in a position to host the

summit, the meetings would have to be postponed.

JOHN

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Written by thaicables

July 19, 2011 at 6:20 am

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