Posted by admin on Feb-3-2009
By THANIDA TANSUBHAPOL
Negotiations between Thailand and Cambodia over Preah Vihear have stumbled over the spelling of the name of the famed ancient temple.
A Thai official said yesterday officials of the Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Commission were trying to find a way around the problem so border negotiations could proceed.
Vasin Teeravechyan, who chairs the commission, said a solution acceptable to the two countries would be found.
Thailand insists on using “the Temple of Phra Viharn-Preah Vihear” on documents used in the negotiations. Cambodian officials strongly object, saying Preah Vihear is internationally accepted.
Mr Vasin, who is a retired Foreign Ministry official, said the name proposed by Thailand was very common in international negotiations on the issue.
The Temple of Phra Viharn-Preah Vihear has been approved by parliament for the framework negotiations with Cambodia. Thailand will use it in documents to be signed with Cambodia.
The meeting will be concluded today.
The two countries have been unable to settle on a plan to reduce troops in the disputed area which covers 4.6 square kilometres between Kantharalak district in Si Sa Ket and the Cambodian province of Preah Vihear.
Mr Vasin refused further comment on the issue. But earlier he said Cambodia had told the meeting it had no soldiers stationed in the area.
The Cambodia delegation is led by Senior Minister Var Kim Hong.
Despite the disagreement over the name of the temple, the two countries will set up another team to survey the borderline for demarcation between Nam Yuen district in Ubon Ratchathani and Phu Sing district in Si Sa Ket, which is 195km long.
Thailand and Cambodia have already formed a survey team to study the disputed area near the ancient temple which was the scene of a military clash last year.
A plan to reduce the number of soldiers near the disputed area is expected to be included in talks when Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan visits Phnom Penh on Friday.
Archive for April, 2009
Posted by admin
Published: 30/04/2009 at 12:00 AM
Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh talked to defence reporter Wassana Nanuam at the 6th meeting of the General Border Committee, denying rumours that former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra had sneaked into Cambodia after fleeing into self-imposed exile overseas.
Is it true that the Cambodian government issued a passport to Mr Thaksin?
No. that’s not true. I have never heard that.
What about reports that Mr Thaksin flew in his private jet to both Phnom Penh and Koh Kong?
I have never seen Thaksin come here to Cambodia. Why should he have to come here? What’s the use of coming here?
We cannot do anything to help him now. He might want to go somewhere else, but not Cambodia.
Thai intelligence agencies had reports that Mr Thaksin flew to Phnom Penh and stayed at the residence of Prime Minister Hun Sen.
No. They were rumours. How could that have happened? Mr Hun Sen himself was unhappy with this. They were purely rumours. We don’t want to meddle in Thai politics. We want to see Thai people love each other and live in harmony and then we will be able to work together to solve the existing [border] disputes.
What do you think about these rumours?
I don’t think spreading such rumours is constructive. They could cause mistrust and strain relations between the two countries. We want to forge better ties and work together to develop the economy.
Political problems in Thailand have also stalled joint efforts to settle the border disputes.
What is the relationship between Mr Thaksin and the Cambodian leader?
They were just acquaintances. Cambodia does not want to meddle in Thailand’s internal affairs.
Could Cambodia help monitor the movements of Mr Thaksin?
I can confirm that Thaksin has never been to Cambodia [since he fled into self-imposed exile]. If he was here, I would have to be aware of that.
Posted by admin
Published: 29/04/2009 at 04:56 PM
Thai and Cambodian defence ministers on Wednesday concluded border talks but said they could not agree to pull back troops from a tense territorial dispute near the old Preah Vihear temple.
Cambodian defence minister Tea Banh (C-R) shakes hands with Thai defence minister Prawit Wongsuwan (C-L) in Siem Reap on April 29, 2009. The pair on Wednesday concluded border talks but said they could not agree to pull back troops from a tense territorial dispute near an ancient temple.
At least seven Thai and Cambodian troops have been killed in recent months in sporadic clashes between the neighbouring countries on disputed land around the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple.
Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan and his Cambodian counterpart Tea Banh began this week’s talks by playing a round of golf in the northwestern tourist hub of Siem Reap on Tuesday.
The pair hailed progress by border negotiators from both countries, but Thailand’s Prawit told reporters after talks finished Wednesday that troops would remain in place until the border was demarcated.
“The issue of troop pullback… from the area near Preah Vihear temple depends on the negotiation related to border demarcation that has not been agreed yet,” Prawit told reporters in a joint press conference.
Tea Banh added that both countries were using all means possible to resolve the border dispute.
Troops from the two countries have been in a border standoff since tensions flared last July, when the cliff-top temple was awarded United Nations World Heritage status.
Ownership of the temple was awarded to Cambodia in 1962 but both countries are in dispute over five square kilometres (two square miles) of land around it that has yet to be officially demarcated.
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The Phnom Penh Post
Written by Thet Sambath
Wednesday, 22 April 2009
Residents around the market at Preah Vihear temple say they want compensation from Thailand for what they estimate is about US$9 million in damages.
RESIDENTS near the Preah Vhear temple complex where a market was destroyed by Thai rocket fire in early April have calculated damages in excess of US$9 million, a representative announced Tuesday.
Some 260 property owners have submitted thumbprints to documents requesting compensation from the Thai government for losses incurred when Thai soldiers opened fire on the market April 3.
Photo by: MICHAEL FOX
“We’ve calculated the value of properties destroyed by Thai soldiers at $1.2 million”, president of the Khmer CiviliSation Foundation, Moeung Sonn, reported Tuesday. “However, we’ve submitted a claim for $9.2 million to the Thai government to compensate people’s properties, businesses and mental health,” he explained.
Moeung Soun said many victims of property damage have also suffered serious mental health repercussions. “One of the victims has been out of control since her property was burned down by Thai soldiers’ rockets,” he said. “She’s now seriously ill and is being treated in Battambang hospital. Other victims are also experiencing mental health problems.”
Moeung Sonn said the complaint will be sent to the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and copies are to be sent to King Norodom Sihamoni, the King Father Norodom Sihanouk, Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Thai embassy.
He added, however, that compensation will ultimately be determined by the Cambodian government’s willingness to confront Thai authorities.
“Our government has evidence of Thai rocket debris and has a duty to serve Cambodians and resolve the problem for them,” he said.
Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told the Post Tuesday that the ministry had not yet received the complaint and would meet to determine measures after its receipt.
Meanwhile, commune officials are working to independently calculate property damages and address losses.
“Our officials have registered people’s property damages, but totals have not yet been calculated”, Kao Long, governor of Choam Ksan district, said Tuesday.
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The Phnom Penh Post
Written by Vong Sokheng
Friday, 10 April 2009
ABOUT 100 members of the Khmer Civilisation Foundation (KCF), a local nationalist civil society group, have appealed for the government to request compensation from the Thai government after armed clashes damaged Preah Vihear temple and destroyed a nearby market. “We have to call for compensation from the Thai government,” KCF President Meoung Son said Wednesday, saying the Thais damaged the Cambodian and world heritage site. Meoung Son said the $50 million in reparation paid to Thailand after the 2003 anti-Thai riots was a suitable precedent for a legal claim. Phay Siphan, spokesman of the Council of Ministers, said he had not received any official complaint from civil society Wednesday.
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The Phnom Penh Post
Written by Thet Sambath
Wednesday, 08 April 2009
AN INVESTIGATION by Heritage Police at Preah Vihear temple suggests that the damage sustained during Friday’s fighting was more serious but less widespread, than that resulting from an outbreak of violence last October.
“We have found 66 stones at the temple that were damaged by the Thai soldiers’ shooting,” said Colonel Om Phirum, the chief of the Heritage Police, in an interview with the Post Monday. “They were damaged by the bullets of machine guns.”During fighting last October, debris from M79 grenades damaged the temple in 120 places, Om Phirum said, though he noted that the bullets from machine guns during the most recent clashes inflicted damage that was more severe, creating holes that were between 1 and 10 centimetres wide and 1 or 2 centimetres deep.
Om Phirum criticised Thai soldiers for shooting the temple, saying, “They do not respect world heritage, and they disdain the world.”
The investigation was conducted on Sunday and Monday. Om Phirum said the Heritage Police submitted a report on damage to the temple to the Council of Ministers and a complaint to the UN cultural agency, which listed the temple as a World Heritage site last July. He said the Heritage Police sent a similar complaint to UNESCO following the outbreak of violence last October, which he said prompted the body to launch its own investigation into the damage.
Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said Deputy Prime Minister Sok An sent a letter Friday to UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura asking him to intervene. Calls and emails to UNESCO officials in Phnom Penh and Bangkok went unanswered Tuesday.
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by Khmerdress and magazine
Preah Vihear After a two-day meeting of the Joint Border Committee of Cambodia and Thailand (JBC) on April 6th and 7th, Cambodians and Thais did not manage to reach an agreement over that question, which, according to diplomats from both Kingdoms, is but the last stumbling block between Cambodia and Thailand with a view to solve peacefully a conflict which was revived due to an exchange of gunfire along the border they share.At the end of the second day of talks which finished at 7pm at the newly-inaugurated Council of Ministers in Phnom Penh, Var Kim Hong, the co-chairman of the Cambodian side of the Committee and his Thai counterpart Vasin Teeravechyan presented the result of the last three rounds of talks meant to put an end to the border dispute which started dividing both countries in July 2008 and went through a violent twist on Friday April 3rd as Thai and Cambodian soldiers faced each other near the Khmer temple of Preah Vihear.
Above all, these two days of negotiations allowed the validation of documents prepared during the first meeting: thus, the agreement reached in November 2008 at the special meeting in Siem Reap and the agreement obtained in Bangkok in February 2009 were revised and signed together with texts about the process of border delimitation, defined at the beginning of this week.
“This will allow us to start working”, particularly on the installation of border markers, Var Kim Hong declared at the end of the second day of the meeting. While Vasin Teeravechyan has not agreed to put forward any dates for the launching of those operations as he preferred talking about a “step by step” process, the Cambodian co-chairman declared for his part that a first group in charge of delimitations would be operational as from the month of May onwards and would be planting “posts at the gate of Chorm Sragnam (Oddar Meanchey), i.e. post number 1, all the way to the Ta Moane temple, i.e. post number 23”. In Zone number 6, where the Preah Vihear temple is located, “technical aspects still have to be solved”, the Cambodian co-chairman estimated. According to him, works for measurements and demining will start next July “at the latest”.
The content of these agreements, however, was not made public and one question is still unanswered and might continue to block progress in the delimitation works: that of the name of the temple, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since July 7th and which both parties are fighting over: Preah Vihear for Cambodians or Phra Viharn for Thais. “We suggested that the official name of Preah Vihear appear in bilateral documents, with a mention between brackets ‘Phra Viharn in Thai’. But the proposition has not yet been accepted by Thailand”, Var Kim Hong explained. He pointed out the fact that once an agreement is reached on that matter, all obstacles to a peaceful settlement will be gone.
For the Thai side, the fact that the Khmer name of Preah Vihear was the one chosen by UNESCO and the World Heritage Committee, which listed the temple, is not a good enough reason for Thailand to say no to the name of Phra Viharn. “This is just about the UNESCO and not about the Border Committee”, Vasin Teeravechyan declared briefly.
Questioned about the recent deployment of military forces along the border with Cambodia, the Thai co-chairman said he was “not aware” of it. On the Cambodian side, once again, there seemed to be more will to talk about the topic. Preap Tann, the governor for the Preah Vihear province and member of the Joint Border Committee of Cambodia and Thailand asserted that Thai military forces were currently deployed “about a kilometre away from the border”, thus confirming the deployment of additional military Thai troops and particularly, “of rocket launchers in front of the Preah Vihear temple”.
For Preah Vihear governor Preap Tann, there is nothing abnormal concerning the deployment of armed forces on both sides, even though negotiations are ongoing: “We have a two-sided situation here: on the one hand, Cambodia uses diplomacy, and on the other hand, we have to protect our territory”.
Cambodian spokesperson Phay Siphan also announced that a report was sent to the UNESCO to inform the organization of the damage caused by Thai gunfire on the temple on April 3rd. “We are members of the UNESCO and our duty is to protect and preserve world heritage”, he said, hoping that a meeting would soon be called up by the UN organization to mention those problems.
UNESCO director-general Koïchiro Matsuura has for that matter expressed his “deep concern” upon hearing about the revival of tensions between Thai and Cambodian soldiers near the Preah Vihear temple, “a masterpiece in Khmer architecture”, and “the exceptional and universal worth of which [...] transcends national borders”.
On Tuesday April 7th, Moeung Sonn, the president of the Khmer Civilization Foundation (KCF) requested that Thailand pay compensation to the Cambodian victims of the April 3rd military coup which caused important damage on the Cambodian market of Prasat where about a hundred sheds went up in smoke. For Phay Siphan, the government “could think about” the request but he added that it would depend on the UNESCO to mention that point, since it concerns a protected area.