Sore loser Abhisit, did you forget again that Preah Vihear belongs to Cambodia?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

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PM firm on temple plan [Abhisit was a softie before?]

'No Thai cooperation' on Preah Vihear area

By Pradit Ruangdit, Sirikul Bunnag and Apinya Wipatayotin
Bangkok Post

Thailand will not cooperate with the World Heritage Committee if it agrees to a management plan for the Preah Vihear temple that infringes upon the disputed border area, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva says.

The prime minister is sending a message to the WHC meeting which is expected to discuss Cambodia's management plan for the Hindu temple and its surrounding areas before the gathering, which began on Sunday in Brasilia, Brazil's capital, ends next Tuesday .

The Cambodian-sponsored plan is on the WHC agenda for its 21-member committee to discuss.

Phnom Penh is required to submit the management plan for WHC approval after the temple was placed on the world heritage listing of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) in 2008.

Thailand's main concern is that the overlapping territory of 4.6 square kilometres, which has not been demarcated, could be included in the plan and jeopardise negotiations to sort out the area, which has been the main source of border conflicts between the two countries.

Thailand last year successfully blocked the plan at the meeting of the WHC in Seville, Spain.

This time, Mr Abhisit is refusing to cooperate with the WHC on the issue as the conflict over sovereignty of the area remains unsettled.

He reiterated yesterday Thailand's stance on opposing the management plan, which he says should not be brought up for discussion until the two countries resolve their dispute over the territory.

If the WHC's resolution on the management plan affects Thai sovereignty, the government will make it clear that it will not accept it, he said after talks with key leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) at Ban Phitsanulok.

The prime minister met with the PAD's co-leader Pibhop Dhongchai, the movement's spokesman Panthep Puapongpan, Senator Kamnoon Sitthisamarn and historian ML Walwipha Charoonroj, who leads the Preah Vihear listing monitoring network.

With the Brasilia meeting scheduled to discuss the issue, the PAD, led by Maj Gen Chamlong Srimuang, and 1,000 supporters converged on Unesco's Sukhumvit office yesterday in an effort to derail the Cambodian effort and call for a review of the registration of Preah Vihear as a world heritage site.

The rally broke up after officials from the UN agency agreed to forward the demands to the WHC meeting.

The 21 members of the serving WHC committee are Thailand, Cambodia, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Brazil, China, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, France, Iraq, Jordan, Mali, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti is leading the Thai delegation to Brasilia to try to stifle Cambodia's management plan.

Mr Kamnoon said the PAD and the government shared a similar view on protecting the country's sovereignty.

He said he felt "relieved" since the government had prepared measures to be taken against the UN agency if it ignores Thailand's stance.

But Maj Gen Chamlong apparently did not feel that way. He said it would be difficult for the Thai delegation to support its objection to the management plan for the temple and its surrounding area, but warned the PAD would not give up its rallies to block it.

"We need to reaffirm our position because we don't believe that the Thai representatives will be able to oppose Cambodia's plan," he said.

"But we still have time to protest until the decision is made. Another series of protests will be definitely arranged to have our voices heard."

The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that Preah Vihear belonged to Cambodia.

The disputed area near the temple is claimed by Thailand as part of Kantharalak district in Si Sa Ket.


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