A Change of Guard

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Thursday, 12 June 2008

Anniversary of Preah Vihear ruling to be held at Wat Phnom

By Eath Daravuth
The Mekong Times

The Khmer Civilization Support Association (KCSA) has announced its celebration of the International Court of Justice(ICJ)’s 1962 ruling that Preah Vihear belongs to Cambodia – rather than Thailand – will be held Sunday at Wat Phnom.
“The ceremony is being held in gratitude to our Cambodian ancestors who built Preah Vihear,” said the KCSA statement, adding that it was also dedicated to former King Sihanouk – Cambodian head of state when the ICJ ruling was made.
“The ceremony is also being held to thank the Cambodian government for maintaining sovereignty and integrity until the temple is registered as a [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization] World Heritage Site list,” said the KSCA.
The UN body will discuss the temple’s listing at talks to be held early next month in Quebec. The KSCA announcement comes as the Thai government studies in detail a new drawing of the temple grounds that Cambodia submitted last week.
Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Tharit Charungwat told The Bangkok Post yesterday that further talks between Thai and Cambodian officials are needed because the Cambodian map of the area slightly differs from the border map used by Thailand
The same newspaper reported last week that the Thai Democratic Party was appealing to Thais to oppose the 1962 ruling, which its deputy leader Alongkorn Ponlaboot claimed was “unfair.”
“If Thailand allows the UNESCO listing it could automatically lose its right to reclaim sovereignty over Preah Vihear in the future,” said Alongkorn.
Pai Siphan, spokesman for the Cambodian Council of Ministers, said yesterday that the term “map” as opposed to “drawing” was causing confusion. “We use the word drawing, as it was a drawing submitted to UNESCO and Thailand. We have sent the drawing to the Thai side and they approved it,” he said.
He added that, according to Cambodian law, the legal premises of each temple are adjudged to be 30 meters starting from the base of its outer buildings. “Currently Preah Vihear temple fences are too near the gate of the temple, which indicates that Thailand has moved its border markers into Cambodian territory,” said the spokesman.
Eath Daravuth

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