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.
Noppadon explained to journalists about Preah Vihear map on 18th June, 2008.
Former foreign minister Noppadon Pattama on Wednesday lashed out at the National Anti-Corruption Commission for finding against him in connection with the Preah Vihear temple communique dispute, saying the decision was unfair.
The NACC on Tuesday ruled that former prime minister Samak Sundaravej and Mr Noppadon were to be held responsible for a cabinet resolution on June 17 last year to allow the then foreign minister to sign a joint communique backing Cambodia’s bid to register Preah Vihear as a world heritage site without receiving prior approval from parliament as required by Article 190 of the constitution. The communique was signed on June 18
The two were also found to have violated Article 157 of the Criminal Code.
Mr Noppadon said the NACC’s ruling was wrong in law and unfair to him and Mr Samak and was based on evidence supplied by political opponents of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
He insisted that the joint communique was not a treaty, but was only a political statement intended to protect territorial sovereignty. It was the only document in which Cambodia admitted the existence of overlapping border areas, he added.
The document had been carefully considered and agreed to by both Foreign Ministry officials, armed forces commanders at a National Security Council meeting, and the cabinet, said Mr Noppadon.
Although in fact many people were to be held responsible for the signing of the communique, the NACC opted to take legal action against only him and Mr Samak.
Mr Noppadon said he was ready to fight in court to prove his innocence and hoped to receive justice from the courts and the Senate.
The former foreign minister said he talked over this matter with Thaksin on the telephone and the fugitive former prime minister gave him moral support and talked to Mr Samak via his personal secretary.
By Thet Sambath and Robbie Corey-boulet
The Phnom Penh Post
PM’s instruction for Cambodian soldiers to ‘use bullets’ against Thai soldiers and civilians was intended to frighten ‘extremists’, foreign affairs official says.
Photo by: Tracey Shelton
Cambodian soldiers guard the border at Preah Vihear earlier this year. Earlier this week, Hun Sen controversially ordered troops to “use bullets“ against Thais venturing into disputed territory.
we have stored enough ammunition to shoot them, and we will follow… orders.
PRIME Minister Hun Sen’s order for Cambodian soldiers to “use bullets” against Thai soldiers and civilians who venture into disputed border territory was intended as a warning to “Thai extremists”, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday.
“The Thai extremists must know the consequences that will happen if they insist on entering Cambodia illegally with the intention of occupying any piece of land in Cambodia,” Koy Kuong said when asked about the premier’s comments, made Monday during a speech at the new Ministry of Tourism.
Koy Kuong added, though, that the government was still hoping for a peaceful resolution to the border dispute.
“Right now, we still hold the position on solving the problem with Thailand peacefully, bilaterally and amicably,” he said.
When asked whether he believed Hun Sen’s comments were consistent with the government’s hopes for a peaceful solution, Koy Kuong said
again that the remarks were merely “a warning”.
The Bangkok Post reported Tuesday that Thai Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban would meet with Hun Sen to discuss the border row.
The report did not specify when and where the meeting would take place, and Koy Kuong said he knew nothing about it.
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva downplayed the significance of Hun Sen’s comments, telling AFP: “Whenever he gives interviews to the foreign media, he always has this attitude where he wants to make headlines.”
Abhisit also said Hun Sen’s comments were likely an attempt to retaliate against Thai protests held on September 19, during which 5,000 yellow-shirted protesters from the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) gathered in Thailand’s Sisaket province to protest the Thai government’s border policy.
Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) soldiers stationed near the border said Tuesday that they were ready to carry out Hun Sen’s order should Thai soldiers or civilians try to enter disputed territory.
“We will not use dogs, electric bats or shields to prevent them. We have stored enough ammunition to shoot them, and we will follow Prime Minister Hun Sen’s orders,” said Srey Doek, commander of RCAF Division 3. “We will not make him disappointed on this problem.”
He said Thai military officers sent a letter Tuesday asking RCAF officials to stop workers from making repairs to Wat Keo Sekha Kirisvarak pagoda, which is located near the temple, because it was in territory they said was disputed. Srey Doek said he had told the workers to continue with the repairs.
A spokesman at the Thai ministry of foreign affairs in Bangkok declined to comment Tuesday, and officials at the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh could not be reached.
The government has been trying to maintain a good relationship with Cambodia and is cautious when making comments about the disputed border near Preah Vihear temple, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban (pictured) said on Wednesday.
“The government does not want to exacerbate the situation, but it must protect the sovereignty of the country at the same time,” said Mr Suthep, who is in charge of security affairs.
People from the two countries can live together as usual, but the yellow-shirt People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) should be more careful in their activities over the border row, he said.
Last week, PAD protesters gathered near the ancient temple to demand the Cambodian government remove its people from the disputed border area.
The government had already asked the Cambodian government about the roads it built to the ancient temple, but the roads can be used by people from both countries, Mr Suthep said.
Mr Suthep said he believed the National Anti-Corruption Commission’s ruling against former prime minister Samak Sundaravej and former foreign minister Noppadon Pattama was rational.
The anti-graft agency on Tuesday voted 6-3 to bring charges against Mr Samak and Mr Noppadon for neglect of duty under Article 157 of the Criminal Code over their support of the joint communique with Cambodia on the listing of Preah Vihear temple as a world heritage site.
Meanwhile, Thai troops have been reinforced at the entrance to Khao Phra Viharn National Park in Si Sa Ket province, and people are not being not allowed on Mo I Daeng Cliff, which overlooks the temple.
On the Cambodian side, there were reported to be many well-armed Cambodian troops near the 11th century temple.
Source: Radio Free Asia
Reported in English by Khmerization
Prime Minister Hun Sen (pictured) has openly declared during an inauguration of a newly-built Tourism Ministry building on 28th September that the 4.6 km2 area near the temple of Preah Vihear claimed by Thailand as undeniably Cambodian territory.
He also warned the Thai yellow shirted protesters not to enter the area. Mr. Hun Sen said: “Because of the three or four (Thai protesters who jumped borders fence on 15th July 2008) that’s why Thai troops had invaded Wat Keo Sekha Kirisvarak pagoda. Three of them jumped the border fence: a monk, a nun and a priest. When we arrested them to compile a report, they use it as a pretext to send the troops in. So now, we don’t need to arrest them. Don’t need to know because this is Cambodian territory. They came with tricks because they did not only want to take the 4.6 km2 of our lands, but they wanted to take the whole Preah Vihear temple. Why such thing happened? It was because (their) prime minister said something like that because this is his original view since he was in the opposition party. Now let’s confront each other face to face, either in Hua Hin or at any other forum.”
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva had claimed that the 4.6 km2 area is Thai territory. Mr. Suthep Thaugsuban, the Thai Deputy Prime Minister, has been pressured by the Thai ultra-nationalists to take action against Cambodia for building roads in the so-called “disputed zones”. In response he said: “The roads were built during the previous government. And even if there are roads in the border area it does not mean that the land belongs to Cambodia”.
The claims had received a strong rebuke from the Cambodian government.
Mr. Hun Sen also warned that he will tear up the Thai unilateraly-drawn maps if there were used for the next negotiation. He said: “Khmer territory is Khmer territory. We will use maps that were the internationally-recognised. We do not recognise maps that were unilaterally-drawn by the Thai side. If thses mpas were used for the negotiation, I will tear them up and therow them away.”
On 24th September, Cambodia’s Council of Ministers had issued a statement rebuking the Thai claims of the 4.6 km2 area by request the Thai leaders to respect the 1904 Khmer-Thai convention and the 1907 Khmer-Thai Treaty signed between the two countries as well as respecting the verdict of the International Court of Justice in 1962.
According to Deum Ampil, the Cambdian army has pledged its full support of Mr. Hun Sen’s speech.
Gen. Chea Dara, Cambodian Deputy commander-in-Chief in charge of Preah Vihear border operations, said he and his army supports Mr. Hun Sen’s speech 100%. “If there is an aggression, the first bullet will make the foreign aggressors die on Cambodian soil”, he said.
Source: Radio Free Asia
Reported in English by Khmerization
A police official said that the Ouddor Meanchey provincial authority has sent a group of police to Kroch Sakhorn village in Kon Kreal commune in Ouddor Meanchey province to interview witnesses and find more evidences about the case of a Cambodian teenage boy burned alive by Thai soldiers.
On 11th September, 12 Cambodian loggers were set upon by a group of Thai soldiers who opened fires indiscriminately. Two loggers were wounded, one, 18 year-old Mao Kloeng had escaped while 16 year-old Yon Rith was unable to escape due to his wounded. He was alleged to have been burned alive by Thai soldiers.
Mr. Lek Sokha, assistant to the Ouddor Meanchey provincial police departement, said a number of police had been sent to the victims’ village. “Among the 12 loggers, some of them saw Thai soldiers shot at the wounded boy at execution-style while he was lying on the ground where they found his burned out body, but he did not see the actual burning because he was running away”, he said.
Mr. Pech Sokhin, Governor of Ouddor Meanchey province, said when all documents and evidences are collected, the provincial authority will write a report to the Cambodian government.
Gen. Wiboolsak Neparn, the Thai commander of Military Region Two, denied that Thai troops wounded and burned the Cambodian teenage boy alive. He even denied that the Thai soldiers from unit 2608, who accused of burning alive the teenager, were not even in the area.
But during the meeting with Cambodian military officials last week, Thai military officers have acknowledged their soldiers burned the body of a 16-year-old Cambodian boy suspected of illegal logging, but insist they only did so after he was dead.
Reported in English by Khmerization
The Reaksmei Kampuchea Daily reported that on the midnight of 27th September, a group of Cambodian and Thai soldiers based on borders in OuddorMeanchey province have engaged in a brief gunbattle.
A Cambodian military source said that a group of Thai soldiers have launched an attack on a group of Cambodian soldiers who were on patrol at 2.30 am along the borders at Kbal Ansong point west of Choam Sa-Ngam Pass in Anlong Veng district. The Cambodian soldiers have exercised their self-defence by returning fires.
The fighting only lasted a few minutes and there was no reported casualty from either side.
BANGKOK, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) – The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) voted 6:3 to find former prime minister Samak Sundaravej and former foreign minister Noppadon Pattama to have violated Article 157 of the Criminal Code for abuse of authority during the UNESCO-listing process of Preah Vihear temple.
The NACC found the two had violated the law since the then cabinet passed a resolution for Noppadon to sign the Thai-Cambodian communique to supportthe listing of Preah Vihear as a world heritage site with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), without the Thai parliament approval, Thai News Agency reported.
As Noppadon was the Thai foreign minister in the Samak-led Administration, on July 18 last year, he signed the joint communique with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An for the UNESCO listing of Preah Vihear temple.
The UNESCO, in July 2008, approved Cambodia’s bid to list Preah Vihear Temple as the World Heritage Site, since then the temple and its adjacent area have become the sites of border conflict between Cambodia and Thailand.
Editor: Fang Yang
BANGKOK, Sept 29 (TNA) – The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) will seek legal action against former prime minister Samak Sundaravej and former foreign minister Noppadon Pattama over last year’s issuance of a joint communique with Cambodia to endorse the listing of the historic Preah Vihear temple as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The NACC found grounds to charge the duo over the approval of a Cabinet resolution at that time to endorse the listing of Preah Vihear temple without parliamentary endorsement as required by the Constitution.
The NACC voted 6:3 in finding them in violation of Article 190 of the Constitution, said Klanarong Chantik, the NACC commissioner. It also found them negligent in carrying out their duties under Article 157 of the Criminal Code.
Mr Noppadol, then foreign minister, signed a joint communique with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An on June 18, 2008 to support Cambodia’s application to list the 11th century temple as a World Heritage site during the Samak administration.
However, the NACC ruled that it did not find sufficient grounds to take action against other cabinet members in the Samak administration and government officials.
The NACC investigated 44 persons in the case including four in the present cabinet, Deputy Prime Minister Sanan Kachornprasart, Deputy Finance Minister Pradit Pattaraprasit, Information and Communication Technology Minister Ranongrak Suwanchawee and Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suvit Khunkitti. (TNA)
Hun Sen accuses top Thai leaders of using dispute over land for political gain.
Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks at the opening of the new Ministry of Tourism building in Phnom Penh on Monday. The premier rejected Thai statements challenging Cambodia’s claims to land near the Preah Vihear temple.
PRIME Minister Hun Sen on Monday condemned recent statements by
Thai officials challenging Cambodia’s claim to
land near Preah Vihear temple and accused
Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of milking the border dispute for political advantage.
“I suggest that the Thai political leadesr stop using the border issue in their own political affairs,” Hun Sen said during
the opening of the new Ministry of Tourism building, located near the recently evicted Borei Keila community.
The premier’s comments came four days after Suthep Thaugsuban, the
Thai deputy prime minister in charge of security, was quoted in the Bangkok Post as saying that roads built near the temple by previous Cambodian governments did not necessarily belong to Cambodia. The Council of Ministers issued a statement Friday summarily rejecting his remarks.
In his speech, Hun Sen described recent statements by Thai officials about the disputed border territory as offensive.
“The claims from the Thai prime minister, deputy prime minister and other ministers on land around the temple are not acceptable,” he said.
“Cambodia will not recognise them. We will only recognise the maps left from the French era.”
Hun Sen also issued a warning to Thai protesters who might again try to approach Preah Vihear temple.
“I would like to stress that Preah Vihear temple is not like the Council of Ministers in Bangkok, and it is not like the Don Mueang or Suvarnabhumi airports that allow occupation by the Yellow Shirts,” he said, referencing sites that have been occupied in various Thai political protests.
Photo by: AFP
Thai police clash with protesters marching on Preah Vihear temple from the
Thai side of the border earlier this month.
Hun Sen also accused officials working at checkpoints along the Cambodian-Thai frontier – especially those at the Poipet border crossing – of illegally taxing people who crossed the border daily for business reasons.
“The Poipet checkpoint has many issues. Now they are charging people who are trying to cart things over the border.Governor, take a look. The police and money-collectors, are they real police and customs officials?” he asked.
He said the issue was significant, despite the fact that it was probably affecting only a small number of people.
He went on to describe efforts to reform the border crossings as part of the government’s broader anticorruption fight.
“If any [government] units are acting illegally, then we must take action,” he said.
“That is the point of fighting corruption. We will create opportunities for people to earn more income.”
Ung Oeun, governor of Banteay Meanchey province, could not be reached for comment Monday.
Poipet Governor Try Narin said he would convene a meeting Tuesday to address the issue. He said individuals crossing the border with few possessions should not be taxed, but added that, as far as he knew, it was standard practice to tax people pulling carts.
“But Samdech is upset about the payments, and he says it is illegal,” he said. “So whatever [Hun Sen] says, I agree.”
ANGKOK, Sept 29 (TNA) – Thai Army chief Gen Anupong Paochinda (pictured) declined to comment on news report on Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s remarks regarding Thai-Cambodian border disputes, saying that the Thai-Cambodian Joint Commission for the Demarcation of Land Boundary would be responsible for the talks to find solution on the border disputes.
International media, including the Associated Press (AP) and Agence France-Presse (AFP), on Monday quoted Mr Hun Sen as telling Cambodian officials that anyone from Thailand illegally intruding into Cambodian territory claimed by both countries will be shot.
The Cambodian leader also said that if Thai officials negotiating the border demarcation line present their own maps during bilateral talks, Cambodian officials ‘should tear them up or walk out.’
Gen Anupong said that all the border talks would be the responsibility of the Thai-Cambodian Joint Commission for the Demarcation of Land Boundararies.
He said Thailand and Cambodia had agreed earlier on the principle to use the talks to solve the problem not to use forces to end the disputes and the Thai government is still adhere to the principle.
“The Thai government has clearly showed that it will use dialogue as the channel to end the disputes. Local military personnel are maintaining good relations with Cambodian soldiers,” he said, adding that no severe measures would be used.
If there was any trespassing by Cambodian soldiers, clear procedures had been set and Cambodian trespassers would be treated in accord with human rights standards.
Gen Anupong added that the Second Army Area had warned local residents in Thailand to take care when traveling in the disputed border areas, intrusions into Cambodian territory could happen and there are still landmines in the border zone which could endanger civilians.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said he was verifying the news report before making any comment and affirmed that Thailand would use peaceful mean to solve the problems. (TNA)