Preah Vihear's borders 'must come first'[: Sore Thai losers]

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mr Suwit told me that it is likely that Thailand will lose [and Cambodia’s plan will be accepted]. - ABHISIT VEJJAJIVA
Pradit Ruangdit
Bangkok Post

Concern that the World Heritage committee will back Cambodia's management plan for Preah Vihear temple overshadowed the cabinet meeting yesterday.

Ministers spent 40 minutes discussing countermeasures after being told by Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti in Brasilia that Cambodia had gained the upper hand over the temple.

"Mr Suwit told me that it is likely that Thailand will lose [and Cambodia's plan will be accepted]," Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva was quoted as saying by a source to the other ministers.

The plan submitted by Cambodia includes a map involving the disputed 4.6 square kilometre area.

Thailand's main concern is that the plan could include part or all of the disputed area.

Thai PBS television quoted Mr Suwit as saying in Brazil that the plan to manage the Hindu temple and surrounding areas included a square kilometre of the disputed land.

Cambodia plans to ask for Thai cooperation to manage any area still claimed by the two countries, Mr Suwit said.

The lead Thai delegate admitted to the prime minister that the Cambodian delegation had lobbied for support from other committee members, the source said.

Mr Abhisit spelled out the government's position to cabinet.

"It is not the time for talks about world heritage because the two countries should talk about demarcation first," the source quoted the prime minister as saying.

Mr Suwit also complained about Cambodia not sending the plan to Thailand to inspect six months ahead of the meeting, as required.

Justice Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga and Deputy Education Minister Chaiyot Jiramethakorn said Thai sovereignty must come first.

Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said the process of discussing the Cambodian plan had not been transparent and Thailand had not been treated fairly.

The debate at the cabinet meeting led to a decision by Thailand to warn the meeting in Brazil that Thailand would consider withdrawing from the World Heritage Committee.


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