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Cambodia PM says Thai border row getting worse ខែកក្កដា 18, 2008

Posted by សុភ័ក្ត្រ in News.
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By Nopporn Wong-Anan

KANTARALAK, Thailand (Reuters) – Cambodian Prime MinisterHun Sen said on Thursday a border row with Thailand was”worsening” and urged the immediate withdrawal of Thai troopsfrom a disputed ancient temple.

In a letter to Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, HunSen said the stand-off at the Preah Vihear temple was “verybad” for relations, but he still hoped to “resolve the problemthrough negotiations” at a border meeting on Monday.

“The situation is worsening due to a continuing increase inthe numbers of Thai military” and the presence of Thaiprotesters, said Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge commander whofaces a general election next week.

With hundreds of Thai and Cambodian troops facing off onthe border, there are fears it could escalate five years aftera dispute over another Cambodian temple, Angkor Wat, saw anationalist mob torch the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh.

Cambodia’s listing of the temple as a World Heritage sitetriggered a political uproar in Thailand stoked by groupsseeking to oust Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej’s shaky rulingcoalition.

About 2,000 Thai nationalists were stopped from rallying atthe temple on Thursday, some clashing with Thai villagers angryat the loss of cross-border trade. Some protesters sufferedminor injuries before riot police intervened.

“Go home, go home, you troublemakers!,” one woman shoutedat members of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), whichis leading a nearly 2-month old street campaign against Samak,whom they accuse of being a proxy for former prime ministerThaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup.

In Bangkok, Samak said the protesters were “insane” and heaccused them of trying to provoke a border confrontation.

LONG-RUNNING DISPUTE

The 900-year-old temple has been a source of tension fordecades since the International Court of Justice ruled in 1962that it belonged to Cambodia, a ruling that still ranklesThais.

The latest flare-up was sparked by Bangkok’s support forthe UNESCO listing, which the PAD said was tantamount toselling out Thailand’s heritage.

Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama quit last week after aThai court ruled the joint communique he signed backing PreahVihear’s listing was illegal because it was an internationaltreaty that required parliament’s approval.

The PAD seized on the court ruling, vowing to go after therest of Samak’s cabinet and step up a street campaign that hasworried investors. The main stock index has dropped 23 percentsince the protests began on May 25.

“Political temperatures will rise inexorably, and Thailandwill become increasingly ungovernable, in the interim,”Chulalongkorn University professor Thitinan Pongsudhirak wrote.

Thailand and Cambodia have deployed hundreds of troopssince Tuesday when three Thai activists were briefly detainedon the Cambodian side for trying to plant a Thai flag there.

Despite the aggressive rhetoric from both sides, thesituation at the temple has remained calm while diplomaticefforts get underway.

Defence ministers from the two countries will attend aborder meeting on Monday “so that both sides can discuss issuestogether in a spirit of neighbourliness”, the Thai ForeignMinistry said.

(Writing by Darren Schuettler; Editing by David Fogarty)

ប្រភព៖ http://www.eleconomista.es/mercado-continuo/noticias/659865/07/08/Cambodia-PM-says-Thai-border-row-getting-worse.html

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