UN council to take up Cambodia-Thai dispute

July 25, 2008, Friday/ 18:31:00/ REUTERS
The UN Security Council will hold a special meeting on a border dispute between Cambodia and Thailand that has sparked fears of a military clash, France and Vietnam said on Wednesday.French Ambassador to the United Nations Jean-Maurice Ripert told reporters the council discussed a request by Cambodia to take up the issue, adding that council members would likely decide on Thursday on the date and format for the meeting. "We are worried about the situation and the potential tension," said Ripert, whose country holds the European Union's rotating presidency until the end of the year. "The Security Council should take its responsibility," he said. "We are in charge of peace and security, so if we can defuse the tension ... we will do it and we think we have to do it." At the heart of the dispute is a 1.8-square-mile (4.6-square-km) area around the Preah Vihear temple on a jungle-clad escarpment on the Thai-Cambodian border, which forms a natural boundary and is claimed by both nations. Ripert said the 15 council members would continue to support bilateral and regional efforts to defuse the crisis, including mediation by the Association of South East Asian Nations, if possible. On Tuesday, ASEAN foreign ministers discussed the issue at a meeting in Singapore but failed to reach a consensus on whether the organization should get involved.

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