Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thai-Cambodia border 'normal' but Thai military on high alert

BANGKOK, July 31 -- The Thai-Cambodian border situation remains normal but Thailand's military is on high guard after a United Nations agency agreed to postpone discussions on the disputed management plan around the Preah Vihear temple proposed by the Phnom Penh government to 2011.

Thai troops are now posted some five kilometres from the historic temple on its eastern approach.

They are guarding the disputed area contested by the two neighbouring countries round-the-clock to ensure that Cambodian soldiers do not encroach the Thai territory.

In an attempt to boost morale of Thai soldiers guarding the border, Col Nirut Ketsiri, commander of 16th Infantry Battalion, visited them.

Thailand's foreign minister said Friday that the country is not disadvantaged after UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee (WHC) on Thursday postponed its scheduled discussions on the management plan to next year's meeting in Bahrain.

Foreign Minister Kasit Piromyat praised the Thai delegation at the meeting, led by Suwit Khunkitti, minister of natural resources and environment, for voicing and explaining the Thai perspective on the impasse to heritage committee members until they decided to postpone discussion of the issue.

He said that Thailand should now find a way to resolve the Thai-Cambodian border demarcation problem and submit it to the House of Representatives for consideration.

The immediate challenge, Mr Kasit said, is that Thailand wants to refer to the temple as Phra Viharn, while Cambodia calls it Phreah Vihear. If it is agreed by Phnom Penh then both countries could move jointly to resolve their territorial disputes.

The Thai government wants to resolve the problem according to the 2000 land boundary demarcation Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Cambodia agreeing not to change any environment in the frontier zone, pending the survey and demarcation of the common land boundary.

Thailand will not allow its territory to be lost and the disputed, overlapping boundary must be settled by negotiation, he said, adding that the next round of talks should be done in a friendly atmosphere as the two countries are close neighbours. (MCOT online news)


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