A Change of Guard

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Sunday, 8 August 2010

Abhisit and PAD to join together for TV show [on Preah Vihear issue]

1907 map drawn by Mixed Franco-Siamese Commission and accepted by Thai king. Thailand on top, Cambodia is at the bottom. Yellow line is drawn by 1907 treaty and blue line below drawn by Thailand in 1962. Green area is area claimed by Thailand.

Published: 8/08/2010
Bangkok Post

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva will debate civil groups rallying against the government's handling of Preah Vihear temple in a special television programme today.

Mr Abhisit said the network of Thai Patriots, led by People's Alliance for Democracy co-leader Chamlong Srimuang, has been invited to the three-hour programme to be broadcast on Channel 11 this morning.

They will debate the Preah Vihear issue and the controversial Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on border demarcation with Cambodia signed by a previous government in 2000.

The invitation was extended when Mr Abhisit was addressing thousands of members of the network at the Thai-Japanese Stadium in Din Daeng yesterday.

Mr Abhisit also said the government would revoke the MoU as requested by the network if it would benefit the country.

"It is fine to have different opinions as long as we have a common stand of protecting national interest.

"But I suggest that we talk and if the cancellation

[of the MoU] does the country better, we should cancel it," he said.

"But we should never exert pressure that it must or must not be cancelled," he told the crowds.

He also pledged to take action against any encroachment by Cambodian people in the disputed territory around the temple.

"The Foreign Ministry and the armed forces are coordinating how to approach the matter," he said.

Led by network member Veera Somkwamkid, about 100 protesters first gathered outside Government House yesterday despite being banned by the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES).

They later moved to outside the 1st Army Region headquarters on Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue after negotiating with police.

Puea Thai Party MP Wicharn Menchainant yesterday criticised the rally as a political show between the PAD and the government.

"Why would the PAD let the prime minister speak on stage to the cheers of rally goers? The government hasn't yet clarified either the MoU or the temple," he said.

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