Voicing grave concern about the recent armed clashes between Cambodia and Thailand, the Security Council today urged the South-East Asian neighbours to establish a permanent ceasefire following closed-door talks on the situation.
“The members of the Security Council called on the two sides to display maximum restraint and avoid any action that may aggravate the situation,” Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil, which holds the monthly presidency of the 15-member body for February, said in a statement read out to the press after the meeting.
“The members of the Security Council further urged the parties to establish a permanent ceasefire and to implement it fully and resolve the situation peacefully and through effective dialogue,” the statement added.
Tensions first escalated between the two countries in July 2008 following the build-up of military forces near the Preah Vihear temple, which dates back to the 11th century and is located on the Cambodian side of the border. The Hindu temple was inscribed on the World Heritage List of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that same month.
Clashes between the two neighbours resumed earlier this month, prompting calls for calm and restraint by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as well as UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.
During its session today, the Council was briefed by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe and Marty Natalegawa, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia and Chair of the regional grouping known as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
It also heard from Hor Namhong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, and Kasit Piromya, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand.
The Council expressed support for ASEAN’s active efforts regarding the situation between Cambodia and Thailand, and encouraged the parties to continue to cooperate with the organization in this regard. The issue is expected to be discussed at the meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers on 22 February.