UN Security Council to discuss Thai-Cambodia dispute

July 23, 2008 at 10:02 am Leave a comment

 June 23, 2008

AFP Very Hot News!!!

PREAH VIHEAR, Cambodia (AFP) – The UN Security Council is expected to discuss a tense military standoff between Cambodia and Thailand this week as more troops amassed along the border, officials said Wednesday.

Thailand’s ambassador to the UN, Don Pramudwinai, said the Security Council on Thursday would discuss the border dispute that has troops from both countries facing off near the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple.

“I have been informed that the UN has included Preah Vihear on the emergency agenda to be discussed at the Security Council meeting tomorrow,” he told reporters in Bangkok.

More than 500 Thai troops and at least 1,000 Cambodian soldiers are squaring off over the small patch of land near the temple ruins, but Cambodian officials said Wednesday thousands more Thai troops were positioned along the border.

Cambodian cabinet spokesman Phay Siphan estimated about 4,000 Thai troops in total have gathered along the frontier in several areas — not just near Preah Vihear.

“They just want to show off their muscle, but we don’t care about that. We stick to a peaceful way to solve the problem,” Phay Siphan told AFP.

Cambodia has sent heavy weapons to reinforce troops on its northern border in Anlong Veng, where there is also disputed territory, said a military official on condition of anonymity.

“There are more (Thai) troops now at Anlong Veng than there are here (at Preah Vihear). There are tanks and artillery,” said the Cambodian colonel with close ties to Thai armed forces.

But Thailand denied it was reinforcing the frontier.

“Thailand has not been building up forces along the border,” deputy army spokeswoman Colonel Sirichan Ngathong told AFP.

“We maintain the same amount of soldiers, and more than 400 soldiers were sent to the overlapping area.”

Cambodia called for the UN to help broker a solution to the standoff after the countries failed to any headway in two days of talks over the disputed land near Preah Vihear, which legally belongs to Cambodia.

Thailand’s chief negotiator to the crisis called Wednesday for leaders of the two nations to meet, saying an existing border committee would not be able to solve the problem.

“At this stage I think it’s rather the leaders who must hold a summit as they are the decision makers,” armed forces head General Boonsrang Niumpradit told reporters, adding that Thai troops had been ordered to remain peaceful.

Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej on Wednesday accused his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen of capitalising on nationalist sentiment ahead of Sunday’s general election in Cambodia, saying talks would be “less intense” after the polls.

Hun Sen was widely tipped to cruise to victory even before the standoff broke out.

However in Thailand critics of Samak — already the target of street protests — have stoked controversies over Preah Vihear to fire up nationalist sentiment against him.

Thailand and Cambodia both claim land near the temple, positioning their troops by a small Buddhist pagoda at the foot of the mountain leading to Preah Vihear.

Cambodian and Thai soldiers gathered inside the pagoda compound did not carry weapons Wednesday, but troops in other parts of the disputed area remained armed as Thai soldiers dug a half-metre-deep trench.

The dispute erupted after three nationalist Thai protesters were arrested last week for jumping a barbed-wire fence to reach the temple, prompting armed troops to head to the border.

The World Court ruled in 1962 that Preah Vihear belongs to Cambodia. But the easiest entrance lies in Thailand.

A spat in 2003 over Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple — the most significant symbol of the country’s ancient Khmer empire — sparked a night of riots in which Thailand’s embassy and several Thai-owned businesses were burned and looted.

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Entry filed under: Preah Vihear Issue.

Preah Vihear Temple and the Thai’s Misunderstanding of the World Court Judgment of 15 June 1962 UN to meet over Cambodia-Thailand dispute

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