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Thailand bullying Cambodia over Preah Vihear?

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Relations sour over Preah Vihear claimFri, January 25, 2008
The Nation (Thailand)Relations with Cambodia have soured after the Defence Ministry alleged yesterday Phnom Penh had “made up” history to claim the ancient Hindu temple of Preah Vihear and get it listed as a United Nations World Heritage site. Published on January 25, 2008 The military condemned Cambodia for creating “false evidence” in order to claim the historic site for its unilateral benefit.The military demanded the Foreign Ministry lodge an official protest with Phnom Penh, its spokesman Lt-General Pichsanu Puchakarn said.The matter was a topic at a meeting of the Defence Council yesterday. Last year, Thailand disputed Cambodia’s wish to have the Hindu temple listed as a heritage site on the grounds the two kingdoms should jointly benefit from the ancient attraction. Access to the site is mainly via Thailand, although the temple itself is in Cambodia.Cambodia created a new boundary to claim sovereignty of the entire area, and was campaigning for international support for this, Pichsanu claimed.The new government should take the issue seriously, the military said. Phnom Penh could generate anti-Thai sentiment among people living along the border, and this could pose a threat to security on the Thailand side, he said.“The military, notably the Second Army Region, will be on alert to protect our people and sovereignty,” Pichsanu said.Defence Minister General Boonrawd Somtas was worried and had encouraged everyone to seek a settlement.“We shall not quarrel over a small piece of land, but let’s talk for mutual benefit,” the minister said.The International Court of Justice ruled in June 1962 that the temple belonged to Cambodia, but the site has been the core of conflict between the two countries since then.Foreign Minister Nitya Pibulsonggram and his Cambodian counterpart, Hor Namhong, discussed greater cooperation in developing the historic temple when Nitya was in Phnom Penh in December.The two ministers said then there was no dispute, and Thailand agreed to provide technical assistance to train Cambodian workers to restore the ancient site prior to the proposal to list the temple.

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Written by Kolbot Khmer

February 17, 2008 at 7:58 pm

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