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 November, 2009
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The Bangkok Post
Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya insisted on Thursday that Cambodia must comply with the law after Phnom Penh banned Thai nationals from working at Cambodian Air Traffic Services (CATS), which is operated by Thailand’s Samart Corporation.
The Cambodian government has ordered the air traffic control company to replace all Thai workers with Cambodians and has seized all the company’s equipment.
Mr Kasit said any action against the company and its employees must be strictly according to the law, and comply with Cambodia’s investment and internal regulations.
“As for Thailand, we’ll wait for reports from the Thai embassy to Phnom Pehn. We hope that we’ll receive factual information from Cambodia and the [Samart] company,” he said.
“If the Cambodian action does not follow the terms of the bilateral agreement between our two countries, we’ll have to find other ways to continue.”
The Foreign Ministry had sent the Consular Affairs Department deputy director-general to see the mother of Thai engineer Siwarak Chutiphong, who was arrested by the Cambodian government last week on spying charges.
Mr Kasit said Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva had promised Mr Siwarak’s mother that he will visit her detained son.
He said the government had to wait for Cambodia’s confirmation of a time for the meeting with Mr Siwarak. The ministry had also hired a lawyer to liaise with the company about the problem.
“There are, however, no problems in Thai-Cambodian relations,” he insisted.
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Sun Chanthol, a former Funcinpec minister, defected to join the CPP following Funcinpec’s demise. He is now a minister without portfolio in Hun Xen’s regime. What The Nation failed to mention is that Samart’s Siam Cement plant is a joint venture with Cambodia‘s Khaou Chuly group and Khaou Chuly happens to be Sun Chanthol’s father-in-law. (Photo: The Phnom Penh Post)
By CHRIS BLAKE
Thailand hopes some day to prove its claim to a historic border temple awarded to Cambodia by the World Court almost half a century ago, its justice minister says.
Justice Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga expressed his opinion on the controversy over the 11th century Preah Vihear temple as Thailand’s relations with its neighbor have become badly strained.
The temple sits on a cliff in a disputed zone between Thailand and Cambodia. It has been a source of tension and fueled nationalist sentiments on both sides of the border for decades.
On Wednesday, Cambodian villagers stabbed straw effigies of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, saying his policies caused border tensions that hurt their livelihoods.
The Thai government is carrying out delicate diplomatic maneuvering with Cambodia to try to obtain the release of a Thai citizen accused of spying. Relations with Cambodia have worsened lately because it hosted a visit by former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted by a 2006 military coup and is now a fugitive from justice.
Pirapan on Tuesday led foreign journalists on a tour to the northeastern province of Sri Saket, adjacent to the Cambodian area where the temple is located.
Thai nationalists consider the 1962 ruling on the temple an injustice. Last year, Thai-Cambodian relations soured when Bangkok first backed, then opposedCambodia ‘s bid to have the temple declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Some Thais believe the designation undermines their claims to a small area of surrounding land, despite denials by UNESCO.
Since then, both countries have beefed up their forces at the border, leading to several skirmishes that left at least seven soldiers dead.
“We respect the court ruling but hope to one day have the evidence to prove the temple itself is ours,” Pirapan told The Associated Press.
Pirapan incorrectly claimed that the court ruled only that the temple itself belonged to Cambodia, but not the land it stands on.
The official summary of the court’s judgment says it “found that the Temple of Preah Vihear was situated in territory under the sovereignty ofCambodia.”
Asked why Thailand was willing to fight over the disputed land near the temple, Pirapan responded: “because it’s ours. Even if it is only one square inch, it is ours.”
On the Cambodian side of the border, villagers Wednesday vented their anger by beating and stabbing straw effigies with signs carrying Abhisit’s name.
“Abhisit is the man who created a war with us and makes our villagers lose their houses and property in the fighting,” Try Piseth, one of the villagers who took part, said by phone.
The temple is easier to reach from the Thai side of the border, and a market has sprouted up on the Cambodian side that serves many Thai customers. But because of the unrest, the Thai army has blocked access to the temple much of the time in recent months so no one can visit the market from the Thai side.
Cambodia this month named Thaksin an adviser on economic affairs. The appointment, and a subsequent visit by Thaksin, set off a diplomatic row in which the two countries recalled their ambassadors. A Thai court last year sentenced Thaksin in absentia to two years in prison on a corruption charge.
Relations were strained further when Cambodia rejected a formal request from Bangkok to extradite Thaksin. The situation worsened when Cambodia expelled a Thai diplomat and arrested a Thai man on spying charges for allegedly passing secret information on Thaksin’s flight schedule to the Thai Embassy.
Associated Press writer Sopheng Cheang in Phnom Penh contributed to this report.
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By The Nation
Chavalit undecided whether to pick up Thai engineer
File photo shows Gen Chavalit shakes hands with Camodian PM Hun Sen after a meeting in Phnom Penh in October.
Pheu Thai Party chairman Chavalit Yongchaiyudh has not decided whether he would fly to Cambodia to bring back a Thai engineer charged for spying in Cambodia, his aide Chawaengsak Thongsaluay said on Wednesday.
Chawaensak said he needed time to verify the new reports related to Chavalit.
The Thai press reported from a Cambodia radio programme claiming Chavalit’s involvement, he said.
According to the Cambodian report, Cambodian authorities are expected to try Siwarak Chotipong for spying before granting him a pardon. Then Chavalit is expected to escort him back home.
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The Bangkok Post
Ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra has posted a message on Twitter saying that he has talked to Cambodian authorities about the Thai man who was arrested on spying charges and the Cambodian government has promised him a fair trial.
“I’ve been in touch with them. They said they would investigate first and will treat him fairly,” he said in his Thai-language posting.
Noppadon Pattama, Thaksin’s legal adviser, said his boss will try his best to ensure Siwarak Chutiphong gets humanitarian support.
The Thai engineer, who was employed by the Samart-owned Cambodia Air Traffic Service, stands accused of obtaining Thaksin’s flight schedule and supplying it to the Thai embassy in Cambodia.
Mr Noppadon said Thaksin had talked to Cambodian senior officials and asked them to ensure fair treatment for Mr Siwarak.
He believed Mr Siwarak’s case would proceed through legal proceedings soon.
He then called on Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to stop accusing Thaksin of being the cause of Mr Siwarak’s arrest. He said the problem was the inefficiency of the administration of the government.
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BANGKOK, Nov 18 (TNA) - Fugitive ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is willing to help the Thai engineer detained in a Cambodian prison as his mother has earlier asked, Thaksin legal adviser Noppadon Pattama affirmed Wednesday.
Mr Noppadon commented after the mother of Siwarak Chothipong, detained by Cambodian authorities on spying charges, said through a media interview that she wanted Mr Thaksin to help her son to get out of jail there.
The Thaksin aide said that the former premier has acknowledged her demand and is willing to help on humanitarian grounds, but that it should wait for the Cambodian legal process to unfold first.
“Mr Thaksin reaffirmed that Mr Siwarak will be treated fairly without any prejudice,” the attorney said. “Currently he is considered innocent, but if he is found guilty, the former premier hopes that the Cambodian court will give him mercy.”
Mr Noppadon said that Mr Siwarak’s mother told him to pass her gratitude to Mr Thaksin after being informed about his reaction to the matter.
“It is hard to lean on the government during this period due to diplomatic spat,” said Mr Noppadon, while reaffirming that the former Thai premier is willing to help, but only after the Cambodian court’s ruling.
Mr Noppadon however denied to specify what kind of “humanitarian” help would be extended and how it would help Mr Siwarak, saying only that the detained Thai national will be given mercy by Cambodia despite court ruling.
Ex-premier Thaksin’s legal adviser also refused to give details of the charges but said that he believes the Cambodian authorities had clear evidence before arresting Mr Siwarak.
Some Thai media reported that Mr Thaksin had contacted Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen asking him to free Mr Siwarak and that opposition Puea Thai Party chairman Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyuth will fly to accompany him back to Thailand.
Mr Siwarak, 31, an employee of Cambodia Air Traffic Service (CATS), was arrested last week after being accused of giving information about Mr Thaksin’s flight schedule to a Thai embassy official in Phnom Penh. (TNA)
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18th November, 2009
The Bangkok Post
Military tries personal appeal to free engineer
Thailand’s hopes of a quick release for Sivarak Chutipong have been dashed.
Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh said the alleged spy will not be freed any time soon.
In a phone interview with the Bangkok Post, Gen Tea Banh said legal proceedings against the Thai engineer must be allowed to run their course.
Thai military chiefs, including Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, are using their communications channels with Gen Tea Banh to try and help the government secure the release of the Cambodia Air Traffic Services engineer who is being detained in Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison.
They hoped the general would convince Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow his release.
“I told them I am sorry but that it is not possible,” Gen Tea Banh said. “Lawbreakers must face legal proceedings first. They must face investigations and will be taken to court. They cannot be let off scot-free.
“I don’t know what to do. The law is there and Cambodia must stick to the law … the judicial proceedings must be allowed to take their course. It’s impossible torelease him [Mr Sivarak] straight away.”
Gen Tea Banh said Cambodian authorities had questioned Mr Sivarak and found allegations he illegally obtained information about fugitive former primer minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s flight schedule had grounds.
Mr Sivarak was arrested on Thursday for allegedly obtaining confidential information about Thaksin’s flight details and supplying it to the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh.
The Cambodian government expelled the Thai embassy’s first secretary Kamrob Palawatwichai in response.
Both Mr Sivarak and the Thai Foreign Ministry denied the allegations.
Mr Sivarak has not yet been formally charged, said Thani Thongphakdi, deputy spokesman for the Foreign Ministry.
After blocking several attempts to meet the detained Thai, Cambodian authorities yesterday allowed Chalotorn Phaovibul – the highest ranking diplomat at the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh – and two other staff to visit Mr Sivarak for 30 minutes.
“He is in good condition and good spirits. He is also being well taken care of by Cambodian authorities,” the deputy spokesman quoted Mr Chalotorn as saying.
Mr Chalotorn has been in charge of the Thai embassy since ambassador Prasas Prasasvinitchai was recalled in protest over Phnom Penh’s appointment of Thaksin as an economic adviser.
Mr Sivarak spoke with his mother, Simarak na Nakhon Phanom, in Nakhon Ratchasima by phone after being given permission by prison authorities.
Mrs Simarak, who works at Nakhon Ratchasima Technical College, said she was happy to speak to her son for the first time since his arrest and to learn that he was safe.
She appealed to the government to quickly secure her son’s release.
The deputy director-general of the Consular Affairs Department, Madurapochana Ittarong, yesterday visited Mrs Simarak in the northeastern province and offered to help her arrange a visit to see Mr Sivarak in Phnom Penh.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva applauded Cambodia’s decision to allow Thai diplomats to visit Mr Sivarak in prison in accordance with international standards.
Mr Abhisit told Mrs Simarak the government would try its best to secure his release as soon as possible.
“The government hopes he will be released soon following proper legal procedures,” Mr Abhisit said.
Thaksin said on thaksinlive.com, his internet channel, that he had contacted the Cambodian government and asked it to ensure the engineer receives a fair trial.
“If there is anything I can do to help, I’ll do it even though it [the charge] is real,” he said.
The recent deterioration in Thai-Cambodian relations started last month when Hun Sen appointed Thaksin as an economic adviser to his government. Tensions increased when Cambodia rejected Thai requests that Thaksin be extradited.
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BANGKOK, Nov 18 (TNA) – Cambodian authorities filed charges Wednesday against a Thai engineer, accusing him of acquiring secret information which affects Cambodia’s national security, according to the secretary of Thailand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chavanond Intarakomalyasut.
Siwarak Chutipong, 31, an employee of Cambodia Air Traffic Services (CATS), was arrested in the Cambodian capital on spying charges last week after he was found releasing the flight schedule of fugitive ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra to a Thai embassy official in Phnom Penh.
Mr Chavanond said that the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs had prepared a lawyer for Mr Siwarak, but it depends on him whether he wants to use the ministry’s or his personal lawyer.
He said the ministry is now preparing legal materials to help the defendant against the Cambodian accusations, but that will be done under Cambodian legal procedure.
Foreign ministry official Thani Thongphakdi, deputy information director, said the ministry has received official notification from Cambodia of the charge, but details cannot be revealed now as the matter is now in court.
Mr Thani said that the foreign ministry is providing a Cambodian lawyer for Mr Siwarak as Cambodian law indicates that only Cambodian attorneys are allowed to represent a client in court.
He said that the lawyer is experienced in human rights issues, adding that the Thai Justice ministry has dispatched its senior officials to help take care of the case.
Following news reports that opposition Puea Thai Party chairman Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyuth will fly to escort Mr Siwarak back to Thailand, Mr Thani commented that the incident happened due to the visit to Phnom Penh of the convicted ex-premier, and that whoever gives a hand to help Mr Siwarak is doing good, but must not make the story more complicated.
The deputy director-general added that deputy director general of the Consular Affairs Department Mathurapojana Ittharong visited Mr Siwarak’s family in Nakhon Ratchasima province to offer moral support and later took them ready passports for their trip to Phnom Penh to visit the defendant if they are allowed by Cambodian authorities.
Meanwhile, opposition member of parliament Jatuporn Prompan, also a leading member of the co-called ‘Red Shirt’ United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) revealed that the Cambodian authorities have got three clear pieces of evidence which indicate Mr Siwarak’s guilt and is a danger to Cambodia’snational security.
Mr Jatuporn said the three items of evidence are the flight schedule, an audio clip of conversation between Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya and the first secretary of Thai embassy to Phnom Penh, and an audio clip in which the first secretary instructed Mr Siwarak to steal Mr Thaksin’sflight schedule.
The Puea Thai MP said that Cambodia considers that Thailand has interfered in its domestic affairs as it considers that the flight schedule is related to its national security.
Mr Jatuporn urged the Thai foreign minister to admit what he had done before the Cambodian authorities expose the audio clip to the public, which he said will destroy Thailand’s credibility, as well as his own.
The Puea Thai MP added that former premier Thaksin has coordinated with Cambodian authorities about the case and has been told that the legal procedure will be rapidly conducted with the minimum punishment.
He said if Mr Siwarak is convicted with a suspension of imprisonment, the Cambodian authorities will inform Gen Chavalit to take the Thai engineer back to Thailand. (TNA)
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BANGKOK, Nov 17 (TNA) - Legal procedures in the case of the Thai engineer arrested on spy charges by the Cambodian authorities will be clarified Wednesday, Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Tuesday, confirming that the Thai charge d’affaires in Phnom Penh met the detained man for the first time in a Cambodian prison and helped him telephone his mother, telling her he is fine.
Siwarak Chothipong, 31, a Thai national employed at Cambodia Air Traffic Service (CATS), was arrested last week after being accused of giving information about ex-Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s flight schedule to a consular official at the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh.
The Thai premier said that he has talked to Mr Siwarak’s mother who is now deeply concerned for the well-being of her son.
“She told me that she wants to see her son and urges for his release as soon as possible,” said Mr Abhisit.
“What she requested was what the Thai government is trying do to right now.”
Mr Abhisit said there is a chance that Mr Siwarak will be freed, but everything must be conducted within established legal processes. The Thai official there met Mr Siwarak Tuesday and gave him some necessary medicine.
The Thai government is conferring with Cambodian authorities to conform to the Cambodian legal process and is sending a lawyer to help Thai national there, while Cambodia is also following international practice.
Asked how Thailand will respond to Cambodian government claims regarding the Thai engineer’s actions, the Thai premier said that there is still no clarity as to what specific charges have been made. He said he hoped that legal procedures relating to the charges will be clarified on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Thai charge d’affaires in Phnom Penh was allowed to meet Mr Siwarak at a Cambodian prison on Tuesday for the first time since he was detained last week.
The Thai official helped Mr Siwarak telephone his mother, telling her not to worry and that the Cambodian authorities were giving him good care.
The diplomatic falling out between the Thai and Cambodian governments flared up after the Cambodia appointed Mr Thaksin as its economic adviser. The two kingdoms recalled their respective ambassadors in retaliatory actions.
Mr Thaksin visited Cambodia last week to lecture over 300 Cambodian businessmen and economists as his first assignment. The Thai government submitted an extradition request of the fugitive former premier, which was immediately rejected by itsCambodian counterpart. (TNA)
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Maj Gen Khattiya Sawatdiphol admits Monday he had sneaked into Cambodia to meet ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra and Cambodian PM Hun Sen last week. Some criticised his presence with Thaksin as he is still serving in the military.
Maj-General Khattiya Sawatdiphol admitted Monday that he had sneaked into Cambodia to meet former premier Thaksin Shinawatra andCambodian prime minister Hun Sen last week.
The politically active Army specialist better known as “Seh Daeng” said he managed to slip past immigration at the checkpoint by using his connections withCambodian troops along the border.
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By Jednipat Chansopeekul
Published on November 17, 2009
Mum worried about health of son who has serious heart condition and is detained by Cambodia which alleges he is a spy
Siwarak Chutipong is either a perfect spy or a perfect victim of a dysfunctional diplomacy. A good son who called his mother every week while on a job abroad and a good pal who is well loved by friends, he is – by appearance at least – someone you would least suspect of trying to steal national security information of utmost importance.
His mother, Simarak, does not believe the Cambodians, who have put him in jail for alleged spying, knew something she did not. The woman is strongly convinced her son is a victim in the Thai-Cambodian showdown over Thaksin Shinawatra.
In an interview yesterday with The Nation, Simarak, a teacher at Nakhon Ratchasima Technical College, pleaded with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to help her son, who was still in Cambodian detention yesterday after being charged with stealing Thaksin’s flight schedule.
Adding to her growing concern, Bangkok and Cambodia yesterday gave contradicting accounts over whether her son had been allowed a first visit by a Thai official.
Siwarak, an engineer at Samart subsidiary Cambodia Air Traffic Services (CATS), was arrested last week, and those wanting to contact him from the Thai side have been given no access to the man. AlthoughCambodia claimed a visit was allowed yesterday afternoon, Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya denied knowledge of such permission. This has aggravated Simarak’s anxiety, because her son has heart problems and needs daily medication.
“We planned to see a doctor during his next vacation to discuss a heart operation, which is the only way to cure his problem,” she said.
“All I want is for the prime |minister to help my son. I can’t and won’t do anything at the moment – until I’m certain there’s no progress, that is.”
Cambodia said a Thai Embassy representative met Siwarak in prison yesterday. But Koy Kuong, a Cambodian Foreign Ministry spokesman, provided no other details except that the visit took place at 2pm, while in Bangkok Foreign Minister Kasit told reporters Thai officials had still been unable to see the suspect.
“Since he was arrested, Thai Embassy officials have kept contacting Cambodian officials to |seek permission to visit him, but it has not been granted yet,” Kasit said.
“The visit is an international standard for whoever has been arrested. So far, there is no official charge either. The Thai Foreign Ministry has sent a letter asking, and there has been no reply fromCambodia.”
Siwarak’s plight will feature during today’s Thai Cabinet meeting, among other issues related to the bilateral conflict. Thailand has stood firm on its denial of any attempt to steal classified information and insisted the charges against Siwarak are politically motivated.
Simarak described Siwarak as a “very good son who has never done anything to upset the family”.
“He’s gentle, likeable and has a lot of friends,” she said. “We talk on the mobile phone once or twice a week. He always tells me everything, and I’ve never heard him discuss or debate politics.”
Siwarak, the oldest of Simarak’s two children graduated from |the Suranaree University |of Technology in Nakhon Ratchasima and started working for Samart in Thailand after graduation. Almost 10 years ago, he was sent to work at CATS, which remained his employer on the day he was arrested.