Monday, October 20, 2008


Abdullah to send message to Thai counterpart


Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will send a message to his Thai counterpart Somchai Wongsawat suggesting Thailand and Cambodia de-escalate strained relations between them and avoid an armed conflict. Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said he would leave for Bangkok, either today or Wednesday, to convey Abdullah’s message and meet Thai Foreign Minister Sompong Amornvivat. He said the Cabinet which met last Friday decided that Abdullah send a message to his Thai counterpart in the spirit of Asean, as any military conflict between Thailand and Cambodia would have its consequence on the region. The two nations are embroiled in a border dispute with reports suggesting that they were on the verge of war. “We need to preserve harmony in Asean. And it is not only Malaysia that has been asked by the Asean secretariat to help but one or two other Asean member states, as well,” he told reporters when met at the Foreign Ministry’s ‘Friends of Malaysia Cultural Exchange Programme’ at a hotel here yesterday. He said Malaysia was of the view that skirmishes between the armies of the two countries must be “undertoned”. He said Thailand and Cambodia, being members of Asean, were close friends of Malaysia and that Malaysia “must adopt a cautious” stand in trying to resolve the issue. “This is especially with the Asean Charter in place. We have to prove to the world that we, as Asean members, can work together and find solutions to our problems. Malaysia will play its role in this issue,” he said. The Asean Charter is a constitution for the 10 Southeast Asian Nations — Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, the Philippines and Laos. -Bernama