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The Bangkok Post
Cambodia PM calls on UN chief Ban for help
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva (pictured) has warned his Cambodian counterpart, Hun Sen, to be careful how he interprets information he receives through the media concerning the territorial dispute over the Preah Vihear temple.
Abhisit: Don’t argue via the media
Hun Sen was reported on the Cambodian Information Center website yesterday as saying he would ask the UN secretary-general to act as a coordinator on border issues with Thailand.
Mr Abhisit said Hun Sen should be careful about interpreting information on such sensitive issues through the media.
He said Thailand would explain the dispute to the global community.
“We want to solve these problems peacefully, without the use of force,” Mr Abhisit said.
However, Mr Abhisit said the government would push out the Cambodian communities who have settled in the 4.6-square-kilometre disputed area surrounding the temple.
Hun Sen on Sunday wrote to the UN General Assembly and the Security Council to say Mr Abhisit had threatened to use military force against Cambodia to settle the border dispute.
Thailand late last month opposed a proposal before Unesco’s World Heritage Committee that it consider Cambodia’s management plan for the temple.
It argued the Cambodian plan encroached on Thailand’s territorial sovereignty by incorporating the surrounding area.
Hun Sen said yesterday he would ask UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon to play the role of coordinator in border issues with Thailand.
Mr Ban would visit Cambodia on Oct27-28, Hun Sen said.
However, he insisted that bilateral border talks with Thailand would not resume until the Thai parliament approved border agreements reached by border committees in past years. Otherwise, the talks would be a waste of time, he said.
Hun Sen said he would also invite a third party, such as the UN or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, to join the border talks.
“It is ridiculous for Thailand to accuse Cambodia of encroaching on the area or using force,” he said.
The International Court of Justice in the Hague found in 1962 that the Preah Vihear temple and its surrounding area belonged to Cambodia, so there was no disputed border between Cambodia and Thailand, he said.
“I don’t know this area of 4.6 square kilometres [near the temple which Thailand insists is part of Si Sa Ket], so how can I ask my people and army to withdraw?” he said.
Hun Sen reiterated that Cambodia did not want to use force to resolve the border issue, but said “we will defend our territorial integrity”.
Meanwhile, the Thai Foreign Ministry has set up a new working group to oversee the issue.
Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya has appointed his secretary, Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, to head the working group.
Mr Chavanond said he would call a meeting of the group on Monday to prepare a response to Cambodia and the UN.
“This group will make decisions about the Foreign Ministry’s position on border problems with Cambodia,” he said. “It will help prevent public confusion and provide accurate and timely responses on the situation to the international community.”
Puea Thai Party chairman Chavalit Yongchaiyudh said yesterday he was confident the two sides would be able to settle their differences peacefully and the problem would not escalate into a war.
Troops from the two countries who are stationed along the border are close and have good ties. “They love each other,” Gen Chavalit said.
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BANGKOK, August 1 (MCOT)- Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva (pictured) on Sunday urged Thais to support his government in making a detailed study of the disputed Preah Vihear temple to show the UN cultural body.
Thanking the public for its display of love for Thai sovereignty which he said led UNESCO’s World Heritage Commission (WHC) to postpone adopting the Cambodian plan to manage Preah Vihear, Mr Abhisit said during his weekly TV and radio address that his government would work hard during the next year to protest Cambodian actions.
Mr Abhisit invited Thais to join in studying the issue with his government and convey their findings to UNESCO and heritage committee members.
The WHC agreed Thursday to postpone adopting the Khmer plan to manage the temple until next year when it meets in Bahrain after Thailand threatened to review its membership and many Thais rallied at the UNESCO Bangkok office.
Preah Vihear temple was awarded to Cambodia by the International Court of
Justice in 1962. UNESCO named the temple a World Heritage site in 2008, after Cambodia applied for the status.
The ancient temple is located atop the Dangrek Mountains, about 150 miles north of the Cambodian capital. Reaching it by road is easiest from the Thai side of the border.
While expressing satisfaction with the postponement to next year, Mr Abhisit said confusions still exist which have led to allegations and disputes [among the public] in Thailand which could benefit Cambodia.
Mr Abhisit said his government would also organise a platform so that the issue could be discussed and would not affect Thai government’s efforts in dealing with the matter to protect Thai sovereignty.
Meanwhile, Samran Rodphet, New Politics Party executive committee member, told a news conference that the government should revoke the Thai-Cambodian Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2000 because it put Thailand at risk of losing territory and the prime minister should open a forum for all Thailand’s sectors to express their opinions.
The opposition Puea Thai Party also called for the government to designate the Preah Vihear problem as a national agenda concern and gather opinions from all sectors and to work truly for the benefit of the nation.
A border market in the northeastern province of Si Sa Ket was quiet on Sunday after rumours of possible tension which might lead to a border closure. However, the border situation remains normal. (MCOT online news)