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Preah Vihear security on alert for weekend heritage ceremony ខែធ្នូ 5, 2008

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Written by Thet Sambath   
Friday, 05 December 2008
RCAF forces and bodyguards deploy at the temple to ensure security at the inauguration of the World Heritage site this weekend

DISPUTED HERITAGE

Tensions have run high at the eleventh-century Hindu temple since July, when  Unesco announced it would be listed as a World Heritage site. Thailand opposed the listing, triggering off a build-up of troops at points along the Thai-Cambodian border.

MILITARY commanders stationed at the disputed Preah Vihear temple say security will be good when senior government officials visit the temple this weekend for a Unesco World Heritage inauguration ceremony.

“We will have a big ceremony at the temple attended by top government officials, diplomats and other organisations, but I cannot tell which government officials will attend for reasons of security,” said Hang Soth, director of the Preah Vihear authority.

“Security is good because we have armed forces stationed there.”

Kim Sangath, deputy general director of the Council of Ministers, said Deputy Prime Minister Sok An would travel to the temple this weekend, but  he could not confirm rumours Prime Minister Hun Sen would attend the ceremony.

Hing Bunheang, Hun Sen’s bodyguard commander, said he had not yet been informed of a trip to the temple, but said sufficient security would be in place should the prime minister wish to attend.

“One thousand [bodyguards] are already at Preah Vihear temple…. Security is confirmed if the prime minister visits the temple because it is in our territory,” he said.

Whether or not he attends, Hun Sen said that he looked forward to seeing the temple established as a World Heritage site.

“We are currently awaiting another splendid event to be held at Preah Vihear temple,” he said in a ceremony Monday at Angkor Wat celebrating the placing of new World Heritage inscriptions. “We will celebrate tremendously according to its wonderful value.”

http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2008120523053/National-news/Preah-Vihear-security-on-alert-for-weekend-heritage-ceremony.html

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Thais protest Cambodian flags, signage at Preah Vihear ខែវិច្ឆិកា 19, 2008

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Written by Meas sochea and Brendan Brady   
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Bangkok cries foul, claiming Cambodian officials violated Thailand’s sovereignty during a November 7 temple ceremony

081119_03.jpg
Photo by: HENG CHIVOAN

A Cambodian Unesco Commission flag flies over Preah Vihear temple.

THE Thai government has lodged an official complaint with Cambodia for having put up flags and signs at the hotly disputed Preah Vihear temple, saying they were raised in Thai territory.

“The Royal Thai government will not tolerate the construction or erection  of signpost/emblem or any structure outside” the area defined as belonging to Cambodia by the World Heritage Committee in July, the Thai Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a letter obtained Tuesday.

A separate statement posted on the Thai foreign affairs website called the move “a flagrant and willful violation of Thailand’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

Cambodian officials on November 7 raised Cambodian and World Heritage flags at the  11th-century monument and unveiled signs declaring the temple international cultural property under special protection, in a ceremony not attended by UN officials.

They said the effort was to protect the temple and accused Thai troops of damaging it during a border clash the previous month.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan defended Cambodia’s action, saying, “Raising the national flag and  Unesco flag was proper to protect that area because it has been listed as Cambodian, and as a World Heritage site”.

“Since 1962, the map accepted by the International Court of Justice has been used and shows this land belongs to Cambodia, so we’re not sure why they should be complaining.”

But he was confident the latest spat would not interrupt progress in negotiations over border demarcation.  

Preah Vihear, which sits on an escarpment on the Thai border, was given heritage status in July.

A tense military standoff over contested border territory has followed.

http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2008111922747/National-news/Thais-protest-Cambodian-flags-signage-at-Preah-Vihear.html

Thai military cancels talks with Cambodia on border dispute ខែសីហា 28, 2008

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PHNOM PENH, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) — Amid mass protests in Bangkok, the Thai military has canceled bilateral talks with Cambodia over the border dispute near the Preah Vihear temple scheduled for Friday in Siem Reap town, local newspaper reported Thursday, citing Cambodian officials.

    Defense Ministry Secretary of State Neang Phat told the Cambodia Daily that he learned Wednesday morning of the last-minute cancellation of the talks.

    As Cambodian officials gathered Wednesday in Siem Reap town to prepare for Friday’s talks, Neang Phat said they received an emergency call from the 30-member Thai delegation, which had already arrived in Siem Reap.

    The two groups held an immediate meeting at the Century Hotel, and, at the Thai military’s request, agreed to postpone Friday’s meeting because of the protests in Bangkok, Neang Phat said.

    Meanwhile, Thai Foreign Ministry press officer Apirat Sugondhabhirom said the military had only informed the Thai government of the canceled negotiations Wednesday, but he downplayed the Bangkok demonstrations as the reason for the delay, the newspaper said.

    The Preah Vihear Temple straddles the Cambodian-Thai border atop the Dangrek Mountain and was listed as a World Heritage Site on July 7 by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee.

    In 1962, the International Court of Justice decided that the 11-century temple and the land around belong to Cambodia, which rankled the Thais and has led to continuous disputes.

ប្រភព៖ http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-08/28/content_9727010.htm

Cambodia’s temple wall ខែសីហា 25, 2008

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Phnom Penh – Cambodia plans to build a Berlin-style wall to shut off Thailand and develop tourist facilities around the still disputed Preah Vihear temple, a senior official said on Sunday.

The Cambodian government will build a series of walls at “complicated border areas,” while still calling for talks to mark and properly demarcate the frontier, Khieu Kanharith, Information Minister and government spokesman, told reporters at a press conference.

Both sides should start to discuss to plant border markers from undisputed border areas to the complicated border areas and some complicated border areas will be built with border markers or concrete walls, Khieu Kanharith said (ច្រើន​ទៀត…)

Welcome restraint seen in Thai-Cambodia border issue ខែសីហា 25, 2008

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Editorial Desk
The Straits Times
Publication Date: 23-08-2008
 
 

The Asean community has reason to breathe a sigh of relief as Cambodia and Thailand reached an interim agreement this week on their Preah Vihear dispute. The two countries came too close to armed hostilities for their neighbours to avoid raising concern. The situation, indeed, remains sufficiently unsettled for anyone to take for granted an enduring resolution.

For the time being, foreign ministers Hor Namhong of Cambodia and Tej Bunnag of Thailand have managed to keep the conflict from worsening. Their accord reduces the most immediate sign of tension; more troops from both sides will leave the overlapping area around the temple.

It also envisages removal of landmines. Making it possible again for tourists to visit the site will promote a return to normalcy. The challenge remains, nevertheless, for the two governments to ratify what the ministers have reached in informal talks. An even greater challenge confronts the joint boundary commission, which the negotiators have agreed will be the key mechanism to settle the issue. The dispute remains more fundamentally over borders than over property ownership.

More than a hundred years ago, French cartographic ineptitude or simply colonial hauteur placed the thousand-year-old temple on one side of the boundary and then on the other. The International Court of Justice awarded Preah Vihear to Cambodia in 1962, but left unadjudicated the boundary ambiguity that gave rise to competing claims to the sanctuary. Preah Vihear, nevertheless, remains a potent symbol of gain and loss in territorial integrity. When–as is the case these days–there is no lack of ambitious politicians on either side to inflame and then exploit nationalistic passions, the dispute can easily boil over.

The latest re-ignition arose, ironically, from Unesco’s designation last month of the temple as a World Heritage site. The proposal to underscore its ‘outstanding universal value’–if implemented without any territorial implications–could yet contribute to building trust and confidence, not to mention increased tourism for both countries. In the event, neither the United Nations nor Asean played a direct role in negotiations to defuse the danger. Still, Asean influence must have weighed on Cambodia and Thailand even as they confined themselves to bilateral channels.

Both sides adhered to the Asean spirit of peaceful conflict resolution. This is an important gain for the grouping as it continues to build institutions and mechanisms for cooperation. As the two sides resume more difficult talks in the coming days, a relieved Asean should remain ready to help.

ប្រភព៖ http://www.asianewsnet.net/news.php?id=1048&sec=3&t=

Cambodia to build concrete wall at complicated border areas with Thailand ខែសីហា 25, 2008

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Cambodian government planned to build concrete walls at complicated border areas with Thailand, a Cambodian official said on Sunday.

ប្រភព៖ http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90851/6485250.html

 

Both sides should start to discuss to plant border markers from undisputed border areas to the complicated border areas and some complicated border areas will be built with border markers or concrete walls, Khieu Kanharith, Information Minister and government spokesman, told reporters at a press conference.

Cambodian government will allow private companies to invest at least two million U.S. dollars at the Preah Vihear Temple to set up cable cars for tourists, he said, adding that the government is also trying to build road accessing to the temple. (ច្រើន​ទៀត…)

Cambodian PM expects peaceful settlement for border dispute with Thailand ខែសីហា 23, 2008

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PHNOM PENH, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) — A peaceful settlement of the 39-day-long military stalemate against Thailand at the border areas can be expected in the near future, said Prime Minister Hun Sen ina letter addressed to his Thai counterpart Samak Sundaravej here Thursday.

    “I have full confidence that the meeting of the Cambodian-Thai Joint Border Commission (JBC) in early Oct. 2008, followed by the next meeting of the two foreign ministers, will bring about a peaceful settlement to the border issues not only in Preah Vihear Temple area, but also the entire border region between Cambodia and Thailand,” he said in the letter issued here Friday to media organizations by the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

    “I sincerely hope that the second meeting between the head of the Cambodian Contemporary Coordinating Task Force and the head of the Thai Regional Border Committee on Aug. 29, 2008, as agreed during the second foreign ministers’ meeting in Hua Hin province of Thailand on Aug. 18-19, will result in removal of all the remaining troops at the areas around the Preah Vihear Temple and cessation of all military build-up in other border areas,” he said. (ច្រើន​ទៀត…)

Border to be closed ខែសីហា 21, 2008

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Phnom Penh (dpa)

Although talks with Thailand over disputed border territory achieved modest progress, the border crossing at the ancient Preah Vihear temple would remain closed indefinitely, Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said Wednesday.

Cambodia remained firm in its stance that Thailand had sent troops into Cambodian territory, he told a press conference at Phnom Penh International Airport upon his return from Thailand after talks there Tuesday.

However, he said he remained convinced that bilateral diplomacy remained the way forward and Cambodia could yet avoid taking the matter to the UN Security Council for mediation.

“We two countries should solve this issue by peaceful means and avoid war,” he said.

He said his Thai counterpart, Tej Bunnag, wholeheartedly agreed.

The 11th-century Preah Vihear temple was listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO over Thai objections on July 7, and a week later, Thai troops moved into nearby areas Bangkok claims are disputed and Cambodia says is its territory.

Late last month, Thai troops also moved into the Ta Moan temple complex, 150 kilometres west of Preah Vihear. Preah Vihear lies around 300 kilometres north of Phnom Penh on Cambodia’s northern border.

Cambodia closed the Preah Vihear border crossing June 22 as Thai protestors began to gather there and would not reopen it without a complete resolution to the dispute, Hor Namhong said.

“When the situation is normal in Preah Vihear, then we will think about reopening the border,” he said.

Cambodia has reported that tourism to the clifftop temple has doubled since the crisis began despite the border closure

ប្រភព៖ http://www.bangkokpost.com/topstories/topstories.php?id=129797

Singapore welcomes moves by Thailand, Cambodia to resolve temple dispute ខែសីហា 21, 2008

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SINGAPORE, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) — Singapore Wednesday welcomed the efforts of Thailand and Cambodia to hold talks on the Preah Vihear Temple issue.

    A spokesman for the Singapore Foreign Ministry said in a statement that resolving the disagreement in an amicable manner was in line with the spirit of ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) solidarity and good neighborliness.

    The spokesman added, Singapore wishes them well in their continuing efforts to work towards a good outcome for both sides.

    Cambodia and Thailand announced earlier that they have agreed to arrange a second-phase troop redeployment at the disputed border area near the temple.

    The Preah Vihear Temple straddles the Cambodian-Thai border atop the Dangrek Mountain and was listed as a World Heritage Site on July 7 by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee.

    In 1962, the International Court of Justice decided that the 11-century temple and the land around belongs to Cambodia, which rankled the Thais and has led to continuous disputes.

ប្រភព៖ http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-08/20/content_9545689.htm

Cambodia, Thailand to discuss 2nd phase of troop redeployment at disputed border area ខែសីហា 21, 2008

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Cambodian and Thailand have agreed to arrange a second-phase troop redeployment at the disputed border area near the Preah Vihear Temple in the eponymous province of Cambodia, foreign minister Hor Namhong said here on Wednesday.

Both sides will convene a meeting between Head of the Cambodian Temporary Coordinating Task Force and Head of the Thai Regional Border Committee (RBC) On Aug. 29 in Cambodia to discuss the second-phase of redeployment, said Hor, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, who just returned home from Thailand after having a meeting with his Thai counterpart Tej Bunnag to end the 37-day-long military standoff at the two countries’ border area.

Both troops started to face off there on July 15 and the personnel gradually accumulated to over a thousand in the coming weeks. However, major evacuation occurred on Aug. 16 and there are now only dozens of officers and soldiers left near the area.

In addition, Hor said Wednesday at the airport, both ministers also agreed to recommend to their governments that the next meeting of legal experts and the Thai-Cambodian Joint Commission on Demarcation for Land Boundary (JBC) be convened in early Oct. 2008 to discuss the issues related to the survey and demarcation of the relevant sectors under the term of reference and master plan of JBC.

On July 15, Thai troops went into the border area to fetch three trespassers who had intended to claim Thai sovereignty over the Preah Vihear Temple. The troops stationed there ever since, thus triggering the military stalemate.

On July 28, foreign ministers from Cambodia and Thailand held a meeting in Siem Reap province and agreed to mull the possibility of evacuating troops from the border.

On Aug. 3, Thai troops entered the Tamone Toch and Tamone Thom temples in neighboring Otdar Meanchey province of Cambodia, thus aggravating the standoff.

On Aug. 16, most of the troops at the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara Pagoda and within the surrounding area of the Preah Vihear Temple were evacuated according to both sides’ agreement.

The Preah Vihear Temple straddles the Cambodian-Thai border atop the Dangrek Mountain and was listed as a World Heritage Site on July 7 by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee.

In 1962, the International Court of Justice decided that the 11-century temple and the land around belongs to Cambodia, which rankled the Thais and has led to continuous disputes.

Source:Xinhua

ប្រភព៖ http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90851/6481367.html