Thailand, Cambodia agrees to develop tourism at disputed Preah Vihear temple

August 26, 2008 at 1:22 am Leave a comment

BANGKOK, Aug 25 (TNA) – Thailand and its neighbour Cambodia have agreed to promote tourism at the disputed ancient temple ruins of Preah Vihear, after troops of both countries have been withdrawn, said Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej on Monday.

The agreement was made following a private luncheon and talks at Government House here between Mr. Samak and Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Gen. Tea Banh.

Speaking to journalists after the talks ended, Mr. Samak who is also Defence Minister, said both countries had agreed to solve common border problems and promote areas which could attract tourists.

“Territorial problems which cannot be resolved by now will be left for negotiations later,” he said, adding that Cambodia has agreed to redeploy its troops from the temple and a “middleman will be appointed to oversee promoting tourism with an aim to bring back tourists”.

“Both countries will benefit as Cambodia would collect the gate fee while Thailand will enjoy other benefits,” he said.

“But the temple cannot be opened for tourism now,” said Mr. Samak, “as no one (soldiers) must be there.”

Monday’s agreement to promote tourism at Preah Vihear temple came after Thai Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag and his Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhong on August 19 agreed to adopt a provisional arrangement pending a survey and demarcation of the area to be carried out by the Joint Boundary Commission, expected to be convened in October.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that Preah Vihear belongs to Cambodia, but the surrounding land remains in dispute.

The Thai-Cambodian border has never been fully demarcated, in part because it is littered with landmines left from decades of war in Cambodia. (TNA)

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Entry filed under: Politics, Preah Vihear Issue. Tags: , .

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