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Pattaya Daily News

08 August 2010 :: 10:08:57 am 34706

Thai Premier Seeks to Clarify Ongoing Preah Vihear Dispute

Following the gathering in of hundreds of protesting civil groups and the yellow-clad People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) over the Preah Vihear Temple dispute, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday addressed the crowd, looking to explain the government’s stance on the contentious issue.
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Bangkok, the 7th of August 2010: Gathered at the Thai-Japanese Sports Complex in Din Daeng, the protesters are seeking clarification on the government’s plans regarding the Preah Vihear Temple and its surrounding land. The protesters are calling for the 2000 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Thailand and Cambodia to be revoked due to various violations and inaccuracies on the document and resultant land survey.

Premier Abhisit met with the gathered protesters in a bid to explain his and the governments position, stating that revoking of the MoU is being considered however, will only be actioned “if it is for Thailand’s interest.”

The protesters main concerns are that the 2000 MoU may unfairly advantage Cambodia in the ongoing land demarcation dispute. Mr. Abhisit clarified this point of contention stating that the map used in the 2000 MoU is not being used in Cambodia’s management plan for the ancient temple and that the 10-year-old pact did not explicitly specify the border demarcation between the two countries.

According to the 2000 agreement, both Thailand and Cambodia agreed not to carry out any environmental changes in the “frontier zone,” pending the completion of a border demarcation survey and decision on the disputed areas.

Allegedly, Cambodian troops and civilians currently encroaching on the disputed areas noted in the MoU constitute reason for the Thai government to revoke the agreement however; it may not be in the best interest of the Thai nation according to the premier. At present, the Thai Foreign Ministry is formulating a submission over the encroachment to be presented to their Cambodian counterparts.

In addition, Mr. Abhisit explained that all issues regarding Preah Vihear and the surrounding territory would be raised in the upcoming National Security Council meeting, whilst the military is believed to be involved with the Foreign Affairs Ministry over the encroachment situation.

Despite Mr. Abhisit’s announcements at the protests, gathered groups voiced the continued confusion over the premier’s status and the prime ministers explanation of the delicate issue. Representatives from the government and gathered civil groups are due to debate the issue on national television Sunday.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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