Bilateral talk with Cambodia may be held to resolve border conflict: Thai minister

Monday, August 2, 2010

August 02, 2010

A bilateral talk with Cambodia may be held in a bid to seek solution to the ongoing conflict over the Preah Vihear Temple, Thailand's Natural and Environment Minister Suvit Khunkitti said on Monday.

The Thai News Agency (TNA) reported that the natural and environment minister was speaking in Thailand's capital Bangkok shortly after he returned from Brazil, where he attended the annual 34th meeting of the UNESCO's World Heritage Committee (WHC).

It is expected that next month the WHC panel will present Cambodia's management plan for the 11th century Preah Vihear Temple to Thailand, Suvit said.

After obtaining the Cambodian management plan for Preah Vihear Temple, Thailand will look into details of the plan in a bid to protect the country's sovereignty, he said.

However, the Thai side will keep abiding by international laws to find the solution to the conflict, the Thai minister said.

The Thai people and concerned organizations will be informed of the development to be made on the Preah Vihear Temple, Suvit said.

During the meeting on July 29, the WHC decided to reschedule its discussion on Cambodia's management plan to its annual meeting in Bahrain in 2011.

Prior to the WHC decision to postpone its discussion, Thailand threatened to walk out of the WHC meeting if the panel considered the Cambodian plan since the Thai side had not yet looked into details of the plan, which was handed in by Cambodia to the WHC panel just shortly before the meeting.

Thailand and Cambodia have historically laid claim to the site, which is located on a mountain top on the Thai-Cambodia border. The disputed area of 4.6 square kilometers has not been demarcated.

In 1962 the International Court of Justice ruled that the Preah Vihear temple belonged to Cambodia. But, the 11th-century temple can only be easily accessed from Thailand.


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