Insights on the Cambodian-Thai border situation
A conflict that was before the Council in early February has flared up once again. (On 14 February, the Council held a private meeting under the agenda item “Letter dated 6 February 2011 from the Permanent Representative of Cambodia to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council” to discuss clashes between the armies of Thailand and Cambodia along the Thai-Cambodia border.) Clashes broke out again last Friday near the disputed Preah Vihear temple.
Both Thailand and Cambodia wrote to the president of the Security Council over the week-end providing their version of the recent clashes. Neither side has asked the Council to convene a meeting and there has been no interest at this stage from Council members in taking up the issue.
So far the fighting has killed eight Cambodian and five Thai soldiers, and one Thai civilian. More than 60,000 people have fled to evacuation centers.
Following the fighting in February, Indonesia had agreed to send monitors to observe a ceasefire. However, disagreements over the monitors’ roles and opposition from the Thai military meant that the observer team was never put in place.
In the past Thailand had pressed for a bilateral solution, while Cambodia seemed to see a need for third party oversight and, as a last resort, a UN role. It remains to be seen if there will be renewed interest in a Security Council or UN Good Offices role following these recent clashes.
Please see our 11 February Update Report for background information to this issue.