Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh and his Thai counterpart, Prawit Wongsuwan, have promised to ensure public safety and maintain peace in border areas.

The two ministers reached consensus on this issue during their meeting in Thailand’s eastern beach resort town of Pattaya on Nov. 27, which took place within a session of the Thai-Cambodian General Border Committee (GBC).

Tea Banh and Prawit discussed a number of bilateral issues, including the reduction of troops based in border regions, especially in the disputed area surrounding the Preah Vihear temple.

They also touched upon the performance of studies on border demarcation and marker planting, and Cambodia’s arrest of a Thai engineer who worked for the Cambodia Air Traffic Services (CATS).

Minister Prawit told reporters after the meeting that Thai and Cambodian armed forces will support all mechanisms between the two countries to improve relations. The most important goal is to ensure the safety of residents and maintain peace in border areas, he said.

Meanwhile, Minister Tea Banh affirmed that Cambodia will not do any thing that might harm the people of either of the two countries, adding that Cambodia will avoid all acts leading to conflict.

On Nov. 26, former Thai Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai said the Thai government should make the first move to open talks with Cambodia on resolving the dispute between the two nations.

He suggested that the Thai government resume a bilateral agreement on overlapping maritime areas, which Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has revoked in a retaliatory gesture after Cambodian PM Hun Sen appointed former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra as an economic adviser.

A number of Thai officials said the Foreign Ministry needs to contribute more to economic cooperation with and assistance to neighbouring nations, including Cambodia./.