Saturday, 19 July 2008

Thai Prime Minister Samak 'Note' sent to Khmer Prime Minister Hun Sen

19 July 2008

BANGKOK, July 19 (TNA) - Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has invited Cambodian Ambassador Ung Sean to receive a letter from Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in response to the Khmer premier's July 17 diplomatic 'Note'.

On Friday (July 18), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs invited Mr. Ung Sean to receive Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej's letter to Premier Hun Sen in reply to his July 17 Note.

Mr. Samak reaffirmed the Royal Thai Government's resolve to seek a just and peaceful solution to the situation in the area immediately adjacent to the Temple of Preah Vihear.

The Thai premier said he has instructed the Supreme Commander of the Royal Thai Armed Forces to lead Thai delegates to Monday's session of the Thai-Cambodian General Border Committee (GBC) in Sa Kaeo Province to discuss issues surrounding the situation with the Cambodian side in a spirit of friendship and cooperation.

Mr. Samak affirmed that the two countries should use every means to prevent escalation of the situation.

The Thai prime minister emphasised that the area of Keo Sikha Kiri Svara Pagoda mentioned in the Cambodian Prime Minister's Note is within Thai territory, and that the establishment of a Khmer community, including building a temple and homes, aswell as stationing Cambodian military personnel in the area constitute a continued violation of Thailand's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The Royal Thai Government has issued four written protests toCambodia regarding this matter in 2004, 2005, 2007 and April 2008 respectively.

Meanwhile, the deployment by Cambodia of more than 1,000 troops, in addition to around 200 troops stationed there earlier, has caused the situation to deteriorate.

The Thai Prime Minister called on both sides to exercise restraint and hopes that the Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Commission will accelerate its work to survey and demarcate the entire stretch of the Thai-Cambodian border so that similar problems would not arise in the future. In addition, pending completion of the JBC's work in this area, the Thai side is ready to jointly explore with Cambodia possible interim measures.

Later on Friday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs invited the remaining eight ASEAN ambassadors to the ministry inform them of the situation and present copies of the July 17 Note to Thailand and Cambodia's ASEAN neighbours, the July 18 Note from Prime Minister Samak to his Cambodian counterpart, including attached copies of the four aide-memoires which Thailand had earlier sent to protest Cambodian actions, as well as copies of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Thailand and Cambodia on the Survey and Demarcation of Land Boundary dated June 4, 2000.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also circulated all of the said documents to other foreign missions in Bangkok.The Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained that the four protests by Thailand to Cambodia were made on the basis of Article 5 of the 2000 MOU, under which both sides agreed not to carry out any work resulting in changes of environment of the frontier zone, pending the survey and demarcation of the common land boundary.

However, to date, no action whatsoever has been undertaken by Cambodia to address Thailand's concerns, protests and requests.

The four Thai protests were made on Nov. 25, 2004 protesting expansion of the Cambodian community and building Cambodian government offices in the area; on March 8, 2005 to protest against Cambodian construction and road improvements from Komui Village, Chom Ksan District, Preah Vihear Province, to Preah Vihear temple; on May 17, 2007 to object to Cambodia's nomination for Preah Vihear temple to be inscribed on the World Heritage List and to Cambodia's "Décret Royal on Délimitation du site protégé du temple de Preah Vihear," which encroached into Thai territory.

On April 10 this year Thailand reiterated all three preceding protests and requested Cambodia's immediate withdrawal of its military and police forces stationed in the areas under overlapping territorial claims between Thailand and Cambodia.

The overall situation at Preah Vihear at present remains stable. (TNA)

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