Governments accused of negligence over Preah Vihear dispute

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

BANGKOK, Sept 16 (TNA) - An activist on Wednesday petitioned the anti-graft agency accusing both the previous and the present governments of negligence of duty for allowing foreign intrusion to occur in the disputed area near the ancient Preah Vihear temple.

A group of activists led by Veera Somkwamkid, chairman of the People's Rights and Liberty Protection Group, filed a petition against all governments since the Chavalit Yongchaiyut administration to the incumbent government led by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

The petition asked the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) to investigate the charges and to take legal action against state officials found guilty for malfeasance or negligence of duty which caused damage to the state.

The petitioners accuse the previous and incumbent governments for not only failing to push Cambodian forces out of the area which they claim belongs to Thailand, but also accuse the successive governments of allowing foreign forces to occupy the area adjacent to the Preah Vihear temple--nearly 3,000 rai (1,200 acres)--since 1998.

They submit more than 10 documents and other evidence to back their claim.

In related developments, Lt-Gen Vissanu Sriyaphan, spokesman for the Royal Thai Armed Forces, reaffirmed that Thailand has not lost territory to Cambodia, but warned a group of people led by the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) who plan to carry their protest to the disputed 4.6 square kilometer-area on Saturday that they would be at their own possible risk from uncleared landmines.

"Thailand has not lost territory as understood by some people,” Gen Vissanu said, “but the pending problems is being solved through negotiations not violence. Therefore the ownership of the overlapping area has yet to be decided."

Meanwhile, the armed forces also issued a statement reaffirming that Thailand has not lost its sovereignty over the area and submitted a protest letter over the settlement of some Cambodians in the area.

Negotiations to relocate the settlements could be launched once Parliament endorses the result of the Joint Border Committee meeting. Any move by some Thais to push the Cambodian settlement out of the area would only complicate efforts to solve the problem in the long term, the statement said. (TNA)


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