A Change of Guard

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Monday, 9 August 2010

Phnom Penh seeks UN help

By The Nation, kyodo
Published on August 9, 2010
Hun Sen: Thailand has troops inside Cambodian territory and is threatening to use force in violation of UN Charter; PM tells PAD in TV debate that MoU has nothing to do with 4.6 sq km of Thai territory around Preah Vihear

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday denied that the 2000 agreement with Cambodia on the Preah Vihear Temple had compromised territorial integrity, as Phnom Penh brought the simmering conflict to the United Nations' attention.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen sent letters yesterday to the presidents of the UN General Assembly and Security Council to decry claims that Thailand is ready to abrogate rulings on the border between the two countries.
In his letter to the United Nations, Hun Sen reiterated the border dispute had been ruled on in Cambodia's favour by the world court in 1962 and by other bodies on occasions since 1904.
"In violating the judgement of the International Court of Justice, Thailand currently maintains its soldiers in the Keo Sikkhakiri Svara pagoda of Cambodia, situated only about 300 metres from the Temple of Preah Vihear, well inside Cambodian territory," Hun Sen wrote.
By threatening to use military force, Thailand "flagrantly violates" the UN Charter, he added.
Promising to avoid force on the Cambodian side, Hun Sen asked General Assembly Presi-dent Ali Abdussalam Treki and Security Council President Vitaly Churkin to circulate the letter to all UN members "for information" on the border dispute.
In Bangkok, Abhisit said the 2000 agreement had nothing to do with the 4.6-square-kilometre area claimed by Thailand even though the heritage site was lost under the World Court ruling of 1962.
"The temple's surrounding area is definitely in Thailand and not classified as an overlapping zone as commonly understood," he said.
Following three hours of debate on national television, the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) said Abhisit's explanation helped it gain a better understanding of the situation although it did not completely agree with the government on all the contentious issues related to the temple.
But critics saw the debate as a stage to bash Samak Sundara-vej's administration without any fresh information forthcoming that could help break the border impasse over the temple.
The government's team included Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti and secretary to the foreign minister Chavanont Intarakomalyasut.
The PAD was represented by its spokesman, Panthep Puapongpan, history lecturer Thepmontri Limpaphayom, and retired diplomat and legal counsel Sompong Sujaritkul.
The roundtable took place amid concerns the 2000 memorandum of understanding might end up causing Thailand to surrender terrain and that Suwit might have made a wrong decision at the recent World Heritage Committee meeting in Brasilia.
Thailand's position
Abhisit started off by outlining Thailand's position on the temple. Although the Sarit Thanarat government had conditionally accepted the World Court decision in favour of Cambodian sovereignty over the temple, the Thai side had never wavered in its assertion of rights of possession over the temple's surrounding area, he said.
The temple verdict neither addressed any border issues nor validated the French-drawn, 1:200,000-scale map that Cambodia has been using as its official reference, he said.
The present government has consistently claimed sovereignty over the temple's surrounding area, he said, while pledging to safeguard territorial integrity.
"The 2000 MoU has no provisions that can be construed as conceding to the Cambodian map. Its design is for handling border problems and any hasty cancellation might pave the way for future compromise risking Thai sovereignty," he said.
Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya was consulting with the military before choosing the best means to protect Thai interests over the temple's surrounding area, he said.
"I deem it inappropriate to discuss the options in public and should the use of force be unavoidable, it would be the last option," he said in reference to the PAD's call to repel the Cambodians settling in the area.
The government was working hard to dispel a misunderstanding by the Cambodian government, he said.
Among the PAD's key concerns was the map used by Cambodia, Sompong said. It did not comply with using the watershed for border demarcation, as directed by the Franco-Thai Treaty of 1904, as amended in 1907.
Panthep and Thepmontri argued that the country had already forfeited about 50 rai of land, which Cambodia included as part of the temple's grounds when it was listed as a World Heritage Site in 2007.
Suwit said the government twice protested the decision related to the temple listing, making it clear Thailand did not condone the listing of the temple as a World Heritage Site, which has put Thai territorial integrity at risk.


Anonymous said...

Cambodia also must complaint to Human Rights that Thailand is abusing Human Rights law by threatening people of Cambodia.

Anonymous said...

Cambodia should not stay silent. We must lobby the international community hard with hard evidence- historical facts and legal basis.

Anonymous said...

thai know that the 4.6 km is khmerland but they pretainding not to know so they do as they are the stupid nation to get khmer land ask them don't thai get khmer land enought? or they want khmer to stand up to get the whole thai country back to khmer.