2011年4月8日金曜日

Thailand denies using cluster bombs

BANGKOK, April 8 - A Thai Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Friday denied a claim that the Thai military used cluster bombs during the recent border clashes with Cambodia, saying the Thai military has strictly complied with international laws.

Thani Thongphakdi, Director-General of the Department of Information, denied the claim by the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) that  the Thai ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva confirmed the Thai army used cluster bombs in breach of an international agreement during border skirmishes with Cambodia in early February.

The ministry spokesperson clarified that the claim was a misunderstanding as the Thai ambassador to the United Nations notified the activist coalition that the ammunition the Thai army had used were actually termed Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions (DPICM), a type of ordnance that is not cluster bombs as the CMC claimed.

The Thai ambassador to the UN explained that the Thai army was forced to counterattack as Cambodian troops fired BM21s, a 122mm multiple rocket launcher, designed to hit unlimited targets including civilians. Therefore, the Thai military had no choice but to counterattack the military target in self-defence, Mr Thani said.

The Thai army exercised utmost restraint to prevent any damage to civilians and used no excessive force in countering the attack. It also strictly complied with international laws, the ministry spokesman said.

At least eight people on both sides have died in fighting that began on Feb 4. The activist coalition claimed that the Thai army killed two people with cluster bombs during the deadly skirmishes.

(MCOT online news)