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Pattaya Daily News

01 August 2010 :: 10:08:38 am 33986

Thai-Cambodian Border Normal as UNESCO Talks Postponed

The situation at the Thai-Cambodian border remains normal despite the ongoing dispute surrounding the Preah Vihear Temple, according to Thai military sources on Friday.
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Bangkok, the 31st of July 2010: The UNESCO World Heritage Committee (WHC) postponed management plans put forth by Phnom Penh and resultant discussions over the controversial Preah Vihear Temple until 2011 last week.

Following the announcement, Thailand significantly increased their military presence on the eastern approach to the temple over fears of a Cambodian encroachment into Thai territory. However, despite fears and the WHC ruling to postpone talks, the situation remains stable in the region, according to military sources.

Disputes about the ownership of the temple and the land demarcation that surrounds it have been ongoing for more than 60 years. In 1962, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) made a majority ruling (9-3) that the temple was part of Cambodian territory. This judgement is still in place today, although Thailand continues to dispute the findings and the resultant World Heritage Listing for fear of losing adjacent land in the area.

The temple site has history dating back as early as the 9th century although the majority of constructions as it stands today were done during the reigns of the Khmer kings Suryavarman I (1002 -1050) and Suryavarman II (1113 -1150). Originally dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, the site was later converted to Buddhism following the collapse of Hinduism in the region.

With both countries being at a standstill over the management and ownership of the Preah Vihear Temple and the land that surrounds it, the immediate concern is regarding the true naming of the site. Thailand refers to the temple as Phra Viharn whilst the Cambodians use Preah Vihear. Preah Vihear is the internationally recognised name due to the 1962 ICJ ruling mentioned above.

The increased military presence merely 5km from the temple on the eastern side are said to be guarding the disputed region to ensure that Cambodian soldiers do not encroach upon Thai territory, a must in order to gain access to the site.

Following Friday’s decision to postpone discussions regarding a management plan for the temple, Thailand’s Foreign Minister Kasit Piromyat praised the Thai delegation for successfully explaining the nation’s perspective on the impasse to the UNESCO-WHC.

He further stated that all party’s should now come together in an attempt to resolve the ongoing Thai-Cambodian border demarcation dispute and submit it to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Thailand’s major dispute is that the land surrounding Preah Vihear is part of Thai territory according to the 2000 land boundary demarcation Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Thailand will not allow for the loss of any land in the ongoing dispute and insist that negotiations be done in a peaceful manner to facilitate the two neighbouring countries good relations.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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