Abhisit to talk to “yellow-shirts” on border issue with Cambodia
BANGKOK, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) — Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Sunday offered to talk to the nationalistic “yellow- shirts” to clear any misunderstanding on the Thai-Cambodian border disputes.
Abhisit said he is ready to send his aides to meet leaders of the “yellow-shirts”, also known as the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), to clear any doubts they have on the ways the government is solving the disputes.
“My government is open-minded. I would like to see the PAD to open their mind too,” the premier said in his weekly national televised address.
“Rather than simply accusing each other, we should find ways to compare our information,” he said.
He added: “If our information does not match, how can we adjust each other’s understanding to find certain common understanding?”
PAD followers, launching their rally last Tuesday by occupying part of the broad historic Ratchadamnern Road in the down-town part of the capital, have set their three demands on the border disputes.
They want the Abhisit government to scrap the existing memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between Thailand and Cambodia in 2000 as the framework for settling the two countries’ disputed border areas.
They also demand the premier to move out Cambodians who are occupying the disputed areas, and the government to pull out as a party to the World Heritage Convention.
Abhisit said on Sunday that many of the PAD supporters misunderstood that the MOU allowed Cambodian people to trespass into the disputed areas.
He said the MOU in itself did not set the demarcation line of boundaries of Thailand or Cambodia, as demarcation was an issue for negotiation between the two countries based on other agreements or documents.
“The MOU does not put (Thailand) in disadvantage,” the premier said.
He said if the government moved to evict Cambodians from the disputed areas, it could create more troubles along the Thai- Cambodian border.
He also said that Thailand should not pull out as a party to the World Heritage Convention as that would allow Phnom Penh to gain an upper hand in administering the disputed area.
“The government stands firm on solving the issue by 100 percent protecting Thai people’s interest,” Abhisit said in his program.
“But at the same time, we need not affect peace or good bilateral relationship,” he said.