Monday, 4 August 2008

#30 - News : Border dispute - 04.08.2008

Kuwait's Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah shakes hands with his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen

Kuwait's Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah (L) shakes hands with his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen after the signing ceremony at ministry of foreign affairs in Phnom Penh August 4, 2008. Sheikh Nasser is in Cambodia for a three-day official visit.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Kuwait's Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah (C) talks to his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen (R) during the signing ceremony at ministry of foreign affairs in Phnom Penh August 4, 2008. Sheikh Nasser is in Cambodia for a three-day official visit. REUTERS / Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Kuwait's Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah (L) listens to his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen during the signing ceremony at ministry of foreign affairs in Phnom Penh August 4, 2008. Sheikh Nasser is in Cambodia for a three-day official visit.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Cambodian Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh (R) exchanges documents with Kuwait's Finance Minister Mustapha al-Shamali as Kuwait's Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah (seated L) and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (seated R) watch during the signing ceremony at ministry of foreign affairs in Phnom Penh August 4, 2008. Sheikh Nasser is in Cambodia for a three-day official visit.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Sacravatoons : " Siem's Fuel "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon at http://sacrava.blogspot.com/

Abhisit calls for serious effort to solve border disputes

(BangkokPost.com) - Democrat party leader and Opposition chief Abhisit Vejjajiva suggested the government to spend more time in working out the new border dispute over the 13th century Ta Moan Thom temple between Thailand and Cambodia instead of throwing blames on others.

Mr Abhisit also called on Prime Minister and Defence Minister Samak Sundaravej to stop playing politics and distorting the truth about the 11th century Preah Vihear Temple. He spoke about Mr Samak’s claim that the origin of the Preah Vihear controversy was the agreement made in 2000. Both countries eight years ago agreed to address the Preah Vihear case in a peaceful manner, but the main concern right now is to clearly the draw out the border area, he said.

When asked whether France will intervene in the Preah Vihear temple, the Democrat leader said it is actually a bilateral matter, and the Thai government has to reiterate that it can be solved between the two countries. He said the government should prevent the overlapping border areas in the ancient temples from intensifying, thus prompting ASEAN and the UN to get involve.

Both sides should continue to negotiate in a bilateral level, Mr. Abhist said.

No more ministerial talks over temples for now, says Cambodia

The Earth Times
Mon, 04 Aug 2008
Author : DPA

Phnom Penh - Talks between the foreign ministers of Cambodia and Thailand are over for now - at least until Cambodia forms a new government, expected in late September, government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said Monday. "There will be no more meetings. Wait until the new government is formed," Kanharith said at a press conference for the visit of Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

Instead, discussions would be left to the border committees on both sides for now, he said. The tensions on the northern border auger badly for pending negotiations over disputed sea borders which hold potentially rich oil fields in the balance.

Cambodia has said it will take the border dispute surrounding ancient temples the United Nations Security Council if bilateral talks fail.

Tensions flared on July 15 when Cambodia detained briefly three Thai protestors it said had strayed into Cambodian land after Preah Vihear temple was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site against Thai wishes. Thailand retaliated by sending in troops.

Sunday the dispute spread to Ta Moan Thom temple, hundreds of kilometres to the west, further straining relations.

Meanwhile, the Kuwaiti prime minister had some poignant words for Cambodia Monday during his 3-day official visit, Kanharith said.

"He told us once Kuwait was invaded by Iraq but now it has an embassy in Iraq," Kanharith said, referring to the 1991 Gulf War.

"Kuwait wants to solve problems by peaceful means ... not fighting."

Helping build dreams and a dam in Cambodia

The water gate construction crews are using a combination of old and new building methods — local trees become forms and props, and empty cement bags keep freshly poured cement from drying too quickly.
Napa Valley Publishing
By CAROLYN YOUNGER
For the Register

Four years ago Tobias Rose-Stockwell swung his leg over the back of a motorbike driven by a young, orange-clad monk and putt-putted into the Cambodian countryside with four other monks. The backpacking artist from the Napa Valley had no idea where he was headed.

In June, Rose-Stockwell and one of those monks, venerable Mean Somet, stood on an earthen levee and looked out over the 123-acre embodiment of a dream-turned-reality.

When expected October monsoons drench the Siem Reap region, the massive gate under their feet will be lowered to trap the water in the 50-hectare reservoir. Later the gate will be raised to fill an intricate system of canals — some of them centuries old — that provide liquid life to villages and surrounding rice fields.

The expanded reservoir, repaired levees and reconfigured water gate came about through the unfailing energy and determination of Rose-Stockwell and local village leaders; not to mention a fundraiser held thousands of miles away in the Napa Valley — an evening concert and auction that raised $90,000 for the project.

Organized and produced by mezzo-soprano Meghan Scheibal, the “Young Musicians for Young Humanitarians” concerts featuring classically trained singers, are held several times a year to benefit the efforts of young men and women working behind the scenes to improve the lives of others. Last year, the spotlight was turned on longtime Deer Park resident Rose-Stockwell, then 28.

After nearly four years of scrambling for money, working with village elders, Cambodian government officials, Cambodian Mine Action Center and structural engineers from Engineers Without Borders, Rose-Stockwell was floored by this generous outpouring of support.

First to raise his bidding paddle that night was winery owner Dick Grace. The move added $10,000 to the pot. Then Grace raised his paddle again for an additional $10,000. It wasn’t long before paddles at every table were being raised — at $5,000 a bid.

“The auctioneer couldn’t keep up,” a still incredulous Rose-Stockwell recalled. “We raised $90,000 in three minutes; and after years of scraping together the first $30,000, this was incredible It was overwhelming. I almost fell over.”

The story of those years between Rose-Stockwell’s first visit and the reservoir’s restoration follows in the best traditions of village storytellers everywhere. What seemed at first a farfetched premise — that a 24-year-old stranger from Northern California could come to the rescue of nearly 10,000 men, women and children half a world away — became a tale of heroic proportions.

And there’s a sequel in the works.

“The change has been pretty enormous,” Rose-Stockwell agreed last week during a short visit to his family’s home.

The sometimes harrowing motorbike ride brought him and a friend, Tracey Rolls, to the Balangk commune near the town of Siem Reap. The two “farangs,” or foreigners, were met by 30 community leaders and about a dozen monks who explained their plight. The group asked the pair for help restoring an earthen dam that controlled the water level of the region’s life-sustaining rice fields: A dam that had been unusable for a decade.

“We were totally taken aback,” Rose-Stockwell recalled. “I had the feeling they hadn’t ever gotten anybody to come there, that we were the first.”

Something about the people and the project appealed to Rose-Stockwell and he decided to see what he could do.

In the years that followed, the community worked out a proposal for the dam. Rose-Stockwell made and sold original prints and sketches of the people he had met in both Thailand (where he had worked briefly in an orphanage) and Cambodia. He founded the nonprofit, Human Translation, and set up a Web site with essays and photographs of the region and the people living there.

“That was pretty effective in raising awareness, but not effective in raising big bucks,” he said, “and it was very time-consuming. At that point I thought the project was going to cost $25,000.”

He wrote grants — dozens of them — but didn’t get a response.

He discovered, too, that the region where government troops and the Khmer Rouge regularly clashed until as late as 1998 had never been cleared of landmines. Rose-Stockwell immediately applied for help from the Cambodian Landmine Action Center. It took four months to clear the western embankment where work on the water gate was slated to begin. Mine-clearing continued on the southern and northern embankments of the reservoir, and in and around the canals. (In the canal area mine crews, clearing 60 feet a day, have so far found and detonated 24 anti-personnel and seven anti-tank mines.)

Then he learned about Engineers Without Borders and met with EWB member Steve Forbes who came on his own to Cambodia to take a look at the community and the crumbling levee system.

“He saw it and said, ‘I don’t think you realize how big this is, Tobias. It’s big,’” Rose-Stockwell recalled. “I said, ‘All right let’s do it.’ That was three and a half years ago.”

With Forbes’ encouragement, he was able to get supplemental consulting and support from the organization.

“We could have done it exclusively with Cambodian engineers,” he said, “which we started to do but there was a big communication barrier and I wanted to be actively involved — to learn — and I couldn’t do this with the Cambodians.”

Rose-Stockwell estimates that by this point thousands of e-mails were winging back and forth across the Internet. EWB engineers guided the project through the entire design process, a Cambodian engineering coordinator, Ong Chanda, and translators were hired and 200 community members were trained in the construction and repair of the reservoir and water gate.

By 2006 the estimated cost of the project was $67,000. A year later the projected cost had doubled.

While Rose-Stockwell was coordinating the reservoir’s restoration and working with a full-time paid staff of five Cambodians and a “super volunteer” from Chicago, Wil Haynes-Morrow, he was also beginning to understand the needs of the community: Contaminated water and the resulting illnesses and deaths were major problems. So were the recurring bouts of scabies — barely visible burrowing mites that infected hundreds of children and led to serious secondary infections.

Rose-Stockwell set about organizing a water purification program — the red filter program which provides inexpensive but effective water filters for clusters of local households. He worked with the local hospital to develop a scabies treatment regimen of antibiotics and scabies medicine.

In addition, “we’ve been buying large jugs of benzyl benzoate and going from village to village for scabies cleaning ceremonies,” he said. “Everything is tied in. You can’t just look at one thing as the sole solution to the community’s problems. With the reservoir we were trying to get to one of the most basic issues, the local economy — if they don’t have water to grow rice they won’t have rice to sell. If they don’t have enough rice to sell they can’t afford to send their children to a doctor. It’s the same with water. If they don’t have clean water and they are too sick to work, they can’t plant rice ...”

To help with these projects Scheibal is planning a second fundraising concert, dinner and auction in the Clos Pegase caves Aug. 17. This year proceeds will be earmarked for clean water, basic sanitation, health and education projects, already underway through Rose-Stockwell’s nonprofit Human Translation.

“The basis of Human Translation is regardless of where you live, regardless of who you are, there is a universal human understanding that we should try to help one another,” Rose-Stockwell said, adding, “I’ve learned a lot about people and what it takes to make a difference. It’s a challenging question and the answer is, it doesn’t take much.”

Cambodia, Kuwait ink trade pacts

Prime Minister Hun Sen (left) and visiting Kuwaiti premier Sheikh Nasser Mohammed al-Ahmed al-Sabah (centre) held talks in Phnom Penh where officials from both counties signed the deals. -- PHOTO: AP


Aug 4, 2008

PHNOM PENH - IMPOVERISHED Cambodia and oil-rich Kuwait on Monday inked five agreements, including trade, aviation and investment deals, during a meeting by prime ministers of the two countries, a spokesman said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen and visiting Kuwaiti premier Sheikh Nasser Mohammed al-Ahmed al-Sabah held talks in Phnom Penh where officials from both counties signed the deals, Cambodian government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said.

The officials signed agreements on economic cooperation, trade, investment, foreign affairs cooperation and civil aviation, the spokesman said.

'Prime Minister Hun Sen welcomes any investment by Kuwait's companies in Cambodia because it has a big potential in developing economic growth,' Mr Khieu Kanharith said.

He said the two countries would discuss more ways to boost trade and investment, and that Kuwait had promised to help Cambodia develop its agricultural sector.

The two premiers also discussed cooperation in oil, with Cambodia asking Kuwait to help train local experts on the petroleum industry, which is starting to take root here after the discovery of offshore deposits.

Cambodia expects to begin producing oil from its offshore fields in 2011, following the discovery of oil in 2005 by US energy giant Chevron.

But it remains unclear how much oil can be recovered, or whether any potential revenue would be used to benefit Cambodia, ranked among the world's most corrupt countries.

Cambodia has climbed back from decades of civil unrest to emerge as one of the region's most vibrant economies, marked by an unprecedented building boom that is radically changing the face of the once-sleepy capital.

The Kuwaiti premier arrived in Cambodia on Sunday for a three-day visit. -- AFP

Cambodia, Kuwait talk oil, agriculture, football and friendship

M&G Asia-Pacific News
Aug 4, 2008

Phnom Penh - Kuwait's prime minister finished a full day of talks during his official Cambodian visit Monday, inking agreements on everything from direct flights to football friendlies.

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah Kuwaiti met with Prime Minister Hun Sen and ministers including Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong.

A good portion of the talks focused on joint agricultural development, with Kuwait expressing interest in buying up arable Cambodian land in exchange for providing technical assistance.

'Kuwait is rich in oil but it is covered mostly with desert,' Khieu Kanharith said. 'Kuwait wants to help Hun Sen make Cambodia an agricultural super-power.'

Oil was expected to be high on the agenda, with Cambodia expecting to begin tapping potentially rich off-shore reserves within three years, but Kanharith said only that technical assistance had been discussed.

Possible low-interest loans from Kuwait were also on the agenda.

The two countries also inched closer to an agreement on direct flights, signing a memorandum.
Another subject that came up was football friendlies between the two nation's youth teams to help Cambodia boost its woeful world standing in the sport.

'We would like to see the Kuwaiti youth team visit and ours visit them for sport,' Kanharith said.
The Kuwaiti prime minister is scheduled to end his three-day visit Tuesday.

Thailand asks Cambodia to withdraw from second temple

A Cambodian soldier near the Preah Vihear Temple

BANGKOK (AFP) — Thailand's military chief on Monday asked Cambodia to withdraw its soldiers from around a second Khmer ruin along their joint border, raising fears of a fresh territorial dispute.

General Boonsrang Niumpradit, head of Thailand's armed forces, told AFP that he had asked his Border Affairs Department to pass on the message to Cambodian Defence Minster Tea Banh.

"We ask Cambodia to move their soldiers, who are near the Ta Muen Thom temple," he told AFP. "I have not received the response yet."

Ta Muen Thom, known as Ta Moan Thom in Cambodia, lies west of the more well-known Preah Vihear temple, where more than 1,000 Thai and Cambodian troops have been stationed since a border dispute erupted last month.

Ta Muen Thom sits on one of many disputed areas along the border. Thai troops have been stationed there since 1998, officials from both countries say, but both sides lay claim to the land on which the Khmer ruin sits.

Boonsrang said a small group of Cambodian soldiers advanced either on Sunday or Monday towards the temple, which sits on the border between northern Cambodia and northeastern Thailand.

He denied that Thailand had increased the number of troops stationed at Ta Muen Thom, and he declined to comment on ownership of the ruin.

"I don't want to answer other questions, otherwise it will escalate," he told AFP.

Relations between the neighbours flared up last month after Preah Vihear, which belongs to Cambodia, was awarded heritage status by the United Nations, angering nationalists in Thailand who still claim ownership of the prized ruin.

On July 15, Cambodia arrested three Thai protesters for illegally crossing the border to try and reach the temple, sparking the deployment of troops from both sides on a tiny patch of disputed land near Preah Vihear.

During talks last week, Cambodia and Thailand both said they were willing to stand down the soldiers, but neither have shown signs of making the first move.

Cambodian government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said Monday that his side was committed to avoiding the "explosion of gunfire" along the frontier.

"The situation along the border has not yet reached emergency state," he told reporters.

Thailand nominates 2nd disputed border temple as World Heritage site

www.chinaview.cn
2008-08-04

BANGKOK, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Thailand has nominated the Khmer-style Ta Muen Thom temple, situated on disputed Thai-Cambodian border area, to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the country's Fine Arts Department director general Kriengkrai Sampatchalit said Monday.

Kriengkrai said, The UNESCO is scheduled to consider the Thai nomination of the 13th-century Ta Muen Thom temple as well as other Khmer-style temples in Thailand's northeastern provinces Surin, Buri Ram and Nakhon Ratchasima under "the Khmer Civilization Route," in its meeting next year, according to a report by The Nation news website.

This move will be naturally viewed as a tit-for-tat response to the lingering dispute on the areas surrounding the disputed Preah Vihear temple.

"It is true that the Prasat (what Thai people call Khmer-style temples) is located just about 100 meters from the border in the Thai soil. The Fine Arts Department discovered and registered it as one of our Thai ancient items in 1935, or about 73 years ago," Kriengkrai was quoted by the report as saying.

The Thai side has since then renovated it and opened it for public long time ago, he said, adding the Cambodian government has acknowledged the renovation and all activities related to the place.

Kriengkrai responded to a recent report that the Cambodian troops tried to cross the border to visit the place, but was declined by the Thai army.

Also on Monday, Thailand's Supreme Commander Gen Boonsang Niampradit said that he has handed a letter to Cambodian authorities, stating that the land at the Ta Muen Thom temple belongs to Thailand.

The remarks came after reports said Cambodia accused Thai troops of occupying this temple on the border between Thailand's Surin province and Cambodia's Banteay Meanchey. The Cambodian authorities claimed ownership over the temple.

Editor: Sun Yunlong

Thailand/Cambodia temple dispute widens

smh.com.au
August 4, 2008

Thailand's military chief has asked Cambodia to withdraw its soldiers from around a second Khmer ruin along their joint border, raising fears of a fresh territorial dispute.

General Boonsrang Niumpradit, head of Thailand's armed forces, said he had asked his Border Affairs Department to pass on the message to Cambodian Defence Minster Tea Banh.

"We ask Cambodia to move their soldiers, who are near the Ta Muen Thom temple," he said.

"I have not received the response yet."

Ta Muen Thom, known as Ta Moan Thom in Cambodia, lies west of the more well-known Preah Vihear temple, where more than 1,000 Thai and Cambodian troops have been stationed since a border dispute erupted last month.

Ta Muen Thom sits on one of many disputed areas along the border. Thai troops have been stationed there since 1998, officials from both countries say, but both sides lay claim to the land on which the Khmer ruin sits.

Boonsrang said a small group of Cambodian soldiers advanced either Sunday or Monday towards the temple.

He denied that Thailand had increased the number of troops stationed at Ta Muen Thom, and he declined to comment on ownership of the ruin.

"I don't want to answer other questions, otherwise it will escalate," he said.

Relations between the neighbours flared up last month after Preah Vihear, which belongs to Cambodia, was awarded heritage status by the United Nations, angering nationalists in Thailand who still claim ownership of the prized ruin.

On July 15, Cambodia arrested three Thai protesters for illegally crossing the border to try to reach the temple, sparking the deployment of troops from both sides on a tiny patch of disputed land near Preah Vihear.

During talks last week, Cambodia and Thailand both said they were willing to stand down the soldiers, but neither have shown signs of making the first move.

Cambodian government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said that his side was committed to avoiding the "explosion of gunfire" along the frontier.

"The situation along the border has not yet reached emergency state," he told reporters.

Thailand asks Cambodia to withdraw from second temple


AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Thailand's military chief has asked Cambodia to withdraw its soldiers from around a second Khmer ruin along their joint border, raising fears of a fresh territorial dispute.

General Boonsrang Niumpradit, head of Thailand's armed forces, said that he had asked his Border Affairs Department to pass on the message to Cambodian Defence Minster Tea Banh.

The ruins of Ta Muen Thom, known as Ta Moan Thom in Cambodia, lie 130 kilometers west of the more well-known Preah Vihear temple, where more than 1,000 Thai and Cambodian troops have been stationed since a border dispute erupted last month.

Boonsang: land at Ta Moan Thom belongs to us

(BangkokPost.com) - The Supreme Commander, Gen Boonsang Niampradit, said he handed a letter to the Cambodian authority, stating that the land at the 13th century Ta Moan Thom temple belongs to Thailand. Cambodia has accused Thai troops of occupying a second sacred temple on the Thai-Cambodian border.

Gen Boonsang said the Thai army and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will have to discuss and work out the dispute involving the 11th century Preah Vihear temple. He said the army is providing relevant information for the Foreign Ministry for consideration before negotiating with the Cambodian counterpart.

The Supreme Commander said the decision to lessen or withdraw Thai soldiers from the ancient temples will have to be discussed, as the matter is sensitive, complex, and would affect the stability of both nations.

The Foreign Ministry can assess the situation better than the army, Gen Boonsang claimed.

A new phase in Cambodian politics

The National Forum
By Verghese Mathews
posted Monday, 4 August 2008

If there was anything absolutely certain about the fourth Cambodian General Elections on Sunday, July 27, it was that the ruling Cambodian Peoples Party (CPP) was poised to win handsomely. This was an accepted certainty well before the spat between Cambodia and Thailand over Preah Vihear temple.

Official results are awaited but the unofficial polls count suggest that the CPP has done better than initially expected and may well have won more than two-thirds of the 123 seats contested by 11 political parties. If it crosses the two-thirds mark, it will be the first time ever, since the landmark 1991 Paris Peace Agreement, that a single party has achieved such success. The CPP, which started off as a communist party following the Khmer Rouge overthrow in 1979, would have very good reason to celebrate.

This election has also seen much less violence than the last three elections in 1993, 1998 and 2003 - which is a good enough reason for everyone and the neighbourhood to celebrate.

Even if the two-thirds is denied the CPP, there is reason for celebration as it will be the first time since 1991 that a single party has taken control of government in a general election. Previously a party had to secure two-thirds of the seats to form government and no party was able to do so.
This led to the formation of a fractious coalition after each of the previous elections between the CPP and the royalist FUNCINPEC party led by Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

Following the last elections in which the CPP scored 73 seats the formation of the coalition with FUNCINPEC (26 seats) took one long year - seen by many as a debilitating and wasted year.

It is different this time around. The Constitution was amended with the support of the opposition to allow any party which obtained more than 50 per cent of the seats to form government. While there was no doubt then that the CPP would form the next government, the party did not take this for granted. Importantly, it had no delusions that it was not universally liked in Cambodia and that the opposition and the royalist parties had good people with good ideas and with significant support in the country.

The CPP addressed the obvious challenges by ensuring that its parliamentarians and workers were in the field, in their constituencies and in the opposition constituencies, day in and day out, listening to the rural folk, rebutting opposition claims or explaining government action. The CPP badly wanted to rule by itself, having decided after the last elections that it would no longer waste a year negotiating a coalition government.

Much of the credit for the CPP success must go to the collective CPP leadership in running a tight ship on the one hand and delivering roads and irrigation canals and schools and clinics across the country on the other. Above all, there was a prevailing sense of stability in a country that had shed so much blood and so much tears.

In that context, there can be no denying that Prime Minister Hun Sen was pivotal in the CPP success. Like him or dislike him, the 2008 General Elections is in particular Hun Sen's personal success story.

While it may now appear that Hun Sen has stamped his authority over the CPP, it is more complex than that. Although he is now more powerful than at any time before in the party, the reality is that he is not all that powerful. He will be, but not just yet. Some things will have to be handled gingerly. Hun Sen will have to negotiate with the CPP leadership on the cabinet appointments. Given the CPP's track record, much of the horse-trading would already have been worked out - it will be the fine tuning now and that is where sensitivities lie. If anyone knows power play in Cambodia it is Hun Sen and former King Norodom Sihanouk.

There is also a strategic question on the table - whether or not to reach out to FUNCINPEC despite its poor showing and there being no need for a coalition. Better to have some of the losers in the tent theory!

The greater problem for Hun Sen in the cabinet line-up is to persuade some of the old faithful to retire and infuse the cabinet with fresh blood. In any country this has to be handled delicately.
Hun Sen may not be able to achieve this in the forthcoming cabinet but can be expected to set the pace to do so the next time.

In this, a Hun Sen quality that is often missed in the media, a well kept secret, is that for several years now Hun Sen has been able to nurture and surround himself with a group of young officials who are all well educated, committed, competent and hardworking. They prepare papers, head committees, negotiate with foreign governments and organisations and provide leadership. Several are heading major institutions and ministries. Some will gradually move to cabinet. If Hun Sen had his way, he would accelerate the process.

Challenges lie ahead for the new CPP government. One-third of the population still live below the poverty level in a country that will have oil on-stream in 2011. More youths are entering the employment market and these are potential opposition voters if they continue to remain unemployed. These are perennial challenges.

The two major challenges the CPP cabinet will have to employ all their talents and their collective. This is to address the endemic corruption and to enhance good governance. In particular, there is growing demand from the Cambodian people themselves for the tabling of a comprehensive Anti-Corruption Bill. When the bill is passed in Parliament it would be a significant start and another reason to celebrate.

Cambodia rice floods into Mekong border provinces

Without these middle-men, who are a "burden" on them, farmers can sell rice for VND6,000 for export.

04/08/2008

VietNamNet Bridge – Thousands of tonnes of rice are being imported daily from Cambodia into Vietnam's Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta.

In the border province of An Giang, Cambodian rice is flooding into "transit depots" in areas like Vat Lai (An Phu District), Cay Mit and Duong Su (Tinh Bien District), and Vinh Gia (Tri Ton District) after being transported by boats and trucks.

On the Vinh Te canal in the border village of Duong Su in Tinh Bien District, hundreds of trucks and boats arrive at husking factories from Cambodia every day.

Meanwhile, local farmers are sitting on heaps of rice along roads in Duong Su, awaiting buyers.

Nguyen Quoc Tuan, deputy chairman of the An Nong Commune People's Committee, said the four local businesses that buy Cambodian paddy in Duong Su procured 100 to 200 tonnes daily.

Nguyen Van Ut, owner of the Dai Thanh husking factory in Tan Chau District, said Cambodian rice cost VND3,800 to 4,200 per kilogram, a little lower than local rice.

"This makes it more difficult for Vietnamese farmer to sell their produce," he said.

He said his factory bought 200 tonnes of domestic rice last year but much less this year. At the beginning of the season, husking businesses bought rice for VND4,800 per kilogram and sold rice to exporters at VND6,050, or US$352 per tonne.

Ut said this was half the international rice. "Rice exporters earned all the profits and did not share the (rice export) cake with farmers and rice processors."

Prof. Vo Tong Xuan, ex-director of An Giang University, said because of the critical food shortage on the world market, Cambodian paddy was a windfall for Vietnamese businesses.

Though countries were expanding the areas under rice cultivation, there was a growing demand for the grain on the world market and prices would remain high, he said.

"We should use this opportunity wisely rather than close the door to imported rice," he explained.

The Vietnamese rice trade is burdened with many layers of intermediaries who add to the cost, he said.

Without these middle-men, who are a "burden" on them, farmers can sell rice for VND6,000 for export.

(Source: Viet Nam News)

PHNOM PENH September 2009 Cambodia Khmer Rouge trials could begin

NEWSAHEAD

The trial of five aging Khmer Rouge leaders might begin in September. The charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes relate to the deaths and suffering of millions of Cambodians under the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. After almost a decade strongman Prime Minister Hun Sen and the United Nations are still wrangling about the scope of and funding for the hybrid Cambodian-UN tribunal. The approach of the 30th anniversary of the end of the regime, in Jan 2009, could function as pressure on the negotiations.

The first defendant to appear is expected to be Kaing Guek Eav, 65, alias Duch, who headed the notorious S-21 prison and torture center, according to a UN spokeswoman. The others are former top lieutenants of late Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, who died in 1998: former head of state Khieu Samphan; former chief ideologist Nuon Chea; ex-Foreign Minister Ieng Sary, and his wife Ieng Thirith, who served as the Khmer Rouge social affairs minister.

Some two-thirds of the tribunal's budgeted three-year mandate have passed since it was set up in Aug 2006, and the delays are widely seen as foot-dragging by Hun Sen, who was a member of the Khmer Rouge as a very young man.

The Khmer Rouge "liberated" Phnom Penh on 17 Apr 1975. Forcing the population out of cities, it tried to establish an agrarian state and killed an estimated 1.7 million people through starvation, disease or execution in the process. Survivors were traumatized in ways that still haunt this country.

Hundreds of people have applied for official recognition as Khmer Rouge victims and to bring parallel civil cases against the five. Regime leader Pol Pot escaped justice by dying before he could be brought to trial. As civil parties, the victims will have standing comparable to those of the accused, including the rights to participate in the investigation, to be represented by a lawyer, to call witnesses and to question the accused at trial.

Cambodian Movie Needs Your Donations

Carl Parkes on
Sunday, August 03, 2008

The BYU alumni and former Hollywood executive, and founder of Cambodia Children's Fund, needs funding to complete a movie about the people who survive by recycling at the main Phnom Penh dump. Lots of talent on this project, and if you've got some spare change, this looks like an outstanding way to help the world understand the challenges of extreme poverty, and great humanity, in the neglected side of Cambodia.
Cambodia Film Project

Thailand has occupied second temple: Cambodia

Daily Times
Monday, August 04, 2008

* Army official says around 70 Thai soldiers have occupied Ta Moan Thom temple

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia said on Sunday that Thai soldiers were occupying a second temple along the border in an escalation of an ongoing armed standoff that nearly led to clashes between the neighbours last month.

Major Sim Sokha, a Cambodian border protection unit deputy commander, said around 70 Thai soldiers on Thursday occupied the 13th century Ta Moan Thom temple in a northwestern border region of Cambodia. Major Taveesak Boonrakchart, a spokesman for the Thai army in the disputed area, denied the allegations. He said troops from both countries had been in the area for years. The temple is several hundred miles west of the 11th century Preah Vihear temple, where Cambodian and Thai soldiers have been locked in a standoff for three weeks in a dispute over nearby land. Sim Sokha said Thai soldiers had been deployed in an 80-yard radius around the temple grounds and had prevented Cambodian troops from entering. He said around 40 Cambodian soldiers were in close proximity to the Thai troops.

“They (Thai troops) said they will pull back only when the issue near Preah Vihear temple is resolved,” Sim Sokha said by telephone from Oddar Meanchey province, around 290 miles northwest of the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh. He said the Cambodian soldiers had been given orders to exercise restraint and wait for the government to try to resolve the issue with Thailand. Khieu Kanharith, the chief Cambodian government spokesman, said he was aware of a new troop movement but was unable to give details. He said his government would try to solve the issue through peaceful means.

Although it is not as well known as the Angkor or Preah Vihear temples, Ta Moan Thom is part of the architectural wonders of the ancient Khmer empire. It was built in the 13th century as a rest house along a road linking the ancient Angkor city with what is currently northeastern Thailand, said Chuch Phoeun of the Cambodian Ministry of Culture.

The border dispute erupted last month near the Hindu-style Preah Vihear when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) approved Cambodia’s application to have the complex named a World Heritage Site. Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej had backed the bid, sparking anti-government demonstrations by Thais near the temple. Thailand then sent troops to the border area.

Thai government critics fear the temple’s new status will jeopardise their country’s claims to land adjacent to the site. Around 800 troops from Cambodia and 400 from Thailand remain at a pagoda near the temple complex, despite a tentative agreement reached by foreign ministers last Monday to re-deploy them in an effort to ease tensions. ap

FBI to aid Cambodia in probing murder of reporter

www.chinaview.cn
2008-08-04

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Cambodian government has accepted an offer of assistance from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in pursuing the July 11 murder of opposition party-affiliated journalist Khim Sambo and his son, national media said Monday.

The U.S. Embassy on July 14 offered the help to investigate the drive-by shooting on street and the Cambodian Interior Ministry officially accepted the offer late Friday evening, English-Khmer language newspaper the Cambodia Daily quoted embassy spokesman John Johnson as saying.

It was too early to provide details about how FBI would help in the investigation, he added.

Khim Sambo was part-time reporter for the Khmer Conscience News, which is closely related to the opposition Sam Rainsy Party. He used to write about the corruption acts of senior government officials of Cambodia.

FBI opened its Phnom Penh Legal Attache office on Feb. 1 inside the U.S. Embassy.  

Editor: An

New Cambodian allegation

The Bangkok Post
Monday August 04, 2008

BANGKOK POST AND AP

Cambodia has accused Thai soldiers of occupying a second temple site in the disputed border area in a claim strongly denied by Thailand.

Sim Sokha, a Cambodia border protection unit deputy commander, said about 70 Thai soldiers on Thursday occupied the 13th century Ta Moan Thom temple in the northwestern province of Oddar Meanchey.

''They [Thai troops] said they will only pull back when the dispute involving the Preah Vihear temple is resolved,'' said Maj Sim Sokha yesterday by telephone from Oddar Meanchey province, about 470 kilometres northwest of Phnom Penh.

The temple is several hundred kilometres west of the ruins of the 11th century Preah Vihear Hindu temple, where Cambodian and Thai soldiers have been locked in a standoff for three weeks in a dispute over nearby land.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Tharit Charungvat yesterday rebuffed the Ta Moan Thom temple allegation, saying Thai soldiers had been stationed at the temple in Phanom Dong Rak district in Surin for years and there was no unusual military build-up in the area as claimed.

Mr Tharit said Thai soldiers have been deployed in an 80-metre radius around the temple grounds to prevent Cambodian troops from entering the area.

The fresh allegation was made one day after about 50 Cambodian soldiers and a group of Cambodian journalists contacted the Thai paramilitary rangers asking them that they be allowed to enter the restricted area on Saturday.

Their request was denied by the 26th regiment commander Col Kittisak Boonpratham on grounds that tensions were still high between the two countries. They should wait until the situation returns to normal, he said.

He was obviously referring to the dispute over the overlapping border area in Kantharalak district in Si Sa Ket and Cambodia's Preah Vihear province.

Khieu Kanharith, the chief Cambodian government spokesman, said he was aware of the new troop movements, but could not provide details.

He said his government will try to solve the issue through peaceful means. Although it is not as well known as the Angkor or Preah Vihear sites, Ta Moan Thom is also considered one of the architectural wonders of the ancient Khmer empire.

It was built in the 13th century as a rest house along a road linking the ancient Angkor city with what is today known as northeastern Thailand, said Chuch Phoeun of the Cambodian Ministry of Culture.

The Preah Vihear row erupted last month when Cambodia's application to have the complex named a World Heritage site was approved.

Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej had backed the bid, sparking anti-government demonstrations.

About 800 troops from Cambodia and 400 from Thailand are still in the area despite an agreement between their foreign ministers last week to redeploy them in an effort to ease tensions.

Fight against Aids efficient in Cambodia

Cambodge Soir
04-08-2008

Every two years UNAID Spublishes a report on the “global Aids epidemic". Cambodia scored positively with a low contaminationrate of only 0.9% of the population.

The UNAIDS report is basedon field surveys carried out between January 2006 and December 2007. TheKingdom’s results bring hope. The number ofPeople with Aids decreasedfrom 1.2% of the population in 2003 to 0.9% , representing 64,750 patients inthe 15-49 year old age bracket.

The population most at risk, subject to largeprevalence campaigns, have adopted responsible behaviours in terms ofprotection. 98.99% of sex workersstated that they used condoms for each sexual engagement.Homosexuals are also better informed, with 86% of couples using condoms. The government prevalence campaigns have yieldedgood results.

The report stressessignificant progress in terms of medical treatment and patient care. 87% of patients now survive the illness followinganti-retroviral treatment. Therefore the mortalityrate has decreased and patients enjoy a better quality of life.

Nevertheless, this positive trend could be reversed due to a lowering ofthe level of vigilance, especially among the populations at risk. The report advocates several measures to maintainthe continuation of low rates:targeting of sensitive populations such as intravenous drug users or orphans whooften do not receive regular medical checks. Medical access is also very different acrossthe entire country in terms of thelocation of medical facilities but also in terms of costs. More should be done for under-privilegedpopulations.

Cambodia has spent a total of US$ 44 million since2006 in the fight against the HIV virus, less than Thailand (US$ 199.6 million) but morethan the Philippines (US$ 7.6 million). But there is one negativeaspect to this overall good situation: private donors finance 87% of this amount. The report also highlighted the risk of an Aidssurge if donors were to stop their financing.

Funcinpec to start alliance with CPP

Cambodge Soir
04-08-2008

The Party leaders stopped the rumours of a split spreading earlier this week. Having only won two seats at the National Assembly the Party’s future is at stake.

Following several public comments from different party officials, a split was on top of the agenda for many. Keo Puth Rasmey, the Party president and Nhiek Bunchhay, the general secretary have jointly asserted that the party will not split. During a meeting the president declared: “if there was any split why are we all gathered here this morning”.

Invited by their leaders, several hundreds of commune and province heads convened on Thursday July 31 at the Party headquarters in Phnom Penh.

The meeting, aimed at nurturing and remobilising supporters following the huge ballot disappointment. Funcinpec only won two seats at the National Assembly.

Now all eyes are on a possible alliance with the Cambodia people’s Party (CPP), which emerged as the winner of the elections. On Friday August 1st, the 13 members of the Party’s standing committee will meet. (Le suspense sera de courte durĂ©e).

There will not be any suspense, asthe President has already admitted: “This would not be a surprise as we worked with the CPP from the beginning”.

Cambodian Nationalism Unleashed

Far Eastern Economic Review

by Geoffrey Cain
Posted August 1, 2008

Cambodia went to the polls on July 27 and secured a fourth consecutive landslide victory for the incumbent Cambodian People’s Party, which currently projects a sweeping 90 or more seats out of the National Assembly’s 123 total.

The CPP has successfully dwarfed its opposition—more than ever—since the first UN-brokered election of 1993. The liberal Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), named after the former Cambodian Minister of Finance, is set to win an estimated 26 seats, slightly up from last election's 24. The royalist Funcinpec party, once co-rulers alongside the CPP, may only secure two seats this election since internal schisms led former leader Norodom Ranarridh to form the Norodom Ranarridh Party (NRP), which may also secure two seats. (Official results will be available next week.)

A cloud of nationalism hung over these latest elections. Cambodia and Thailand faced off in an intense border dispute around the Preah Vihear temple and as the two sides transported troops, artillery and tanks to the border, ruling party members were busy galvanizing Cambodian support against perceived Thai aggression.

This is hardly the first time the Preah Vihar temple has been at the center of a brewing storm. The formerly Hindu, now Buddhist, temple was erected during the ninth century AD as a monument to the god Shiva and was occupied by various conquerors throughout the ensuing centuries. In 1904, Thailand and the French administration in Cambodia agreed to grant Thailand the land around the temple, but to Cambodia the temple itself. The U.N. World Court later ruled the temple to be Cambodian in 1962 following a dispute with Thailand. (For more on the history of the conflict, read Bertil Linter’s account Temple Furor Exposes Delicate Ties in the July/August edition of the REVIEW.)

And now, the timing could not have been better for the CPP. As the anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy in Thailand accuses Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej of ceding temples for business concessions—much like they accused ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2006 before a coup—Thai politicians have initiated the conflict under pressure. The CPP, therefore, did not create this dispute, but has rather capitalized on it out of luck.

A few days after UNESCO listed the temple as a World Heritage Site on July 9, Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister Sok An was greeted at Phnom Penh's Olympic Stadium by a massive fireworks display and an estimated 8,000-person crowd. Sok An did not use the celebration only to delve into the contentious temple’s Khmer heritage. Instead, he spent 30 minutes crediting himself and other CPP leaders with securing the listing.

But now that incumbent politicians have released the nationalist genie, can it be stopped? Recent events suggests that this is unlikely.

Shortly after the listing, senior CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap also proclaimed a major boost for the ruling party. While campaigning in a border province, he boldly announced to voters that the UNESCO decision was a result of Hun Sen's charismatic leadership.

The same week, Cambodia's CTN news channel had announced the decision with a photograph of Prime Minister Hun Sen encircled in stars and, for background music, the stately national anthem being performed. As Thailand persisted in its border zone claims, text messages began circulating throughout Cambodia calling for immediate action against its neighbor. Last week, Cambodian vendors and consumers boycotted Thai fruits and cosmetics, once popular items in Cambodia.

According to the Phnom Penh Post, one customs chief at the Thai-Cambodia border estimated that imports from the country's neighbor had dropped 30 percent. Thailand is Cambodia's second biggest source of imports.

In any case, Thai-Cambodian clashes have become routine. A similar chain of events was underway six months before the 2003 election, reaching a climax when an angry mob torched the Thai embassy in Cambodia following allegations that a Thai celebrity proclaimed Angkor Wat to be of Thai heritage. Although such an extreme outcome is unlikely in 2008 as the Preah Vihear situation cools, the dangers of ultra-nationalism around election season are still there.

When Thailand sent troops to Preah Vihear in response to three protestors illegally crossing into Cambodia, CPP campaigners quickly transformed their platforms from issues such as corruption and inflation to a single one that appears black and white: Hun Sen and his close allies were strong but peaceful leaders, solely responsible for uniting Cambodians against Thai aggression.

“We are peaceful people,” Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan told a group of reporters at Preah Vihear, including myself, when tensions first flared. “Thailand is worsening these problems, not Cambodia.”

Negotiations between Thailand and Cambodia failed before the polling. Interestingly, the day after the elections, both sides agreed to begin withdrawing troops, though authorities have denied this relates to the elections. But ever since the voting concluded, Preah Vihear retreated to a back issue in Cambodian local media for now.

If there is a broader idea to be drawn from all this, it is that nationalism has recently shown itself to be a recurring force in Cambodian politics. Khmer pride and aggressive confrontation typically flare around Cambodia’s election seasons, such as in January 2003, with the Thai embassy incident. The CPP, nonetheless, emphasized Khmer temple heritage as a major selling point in the July 2003 election.

Roderick Brazier, the Cambodia country representative for the Asia Foundation, thinks the fervor will subside as it has in the past, but noted that Cambodia has historically been defensive—even chivalrous—when neighbors encroach its culture. “Thailand and Vietnam have constantly needled away at Cambodia's borders and heritage,” he said. “When Cambodians feel they're losing their culture, they get angry.”

In 1997, Hun Sen capitalized on Cambodia's pride against Khmer Rouge aggressors, accusing then co-prime minister, Norodom Ranarridh, of illegally bringing Maoist soldiers into the capital.

A coup against Prince Ranarridh ensued. Cambodia went to the polls about one year later in July 1998, with the party-dominated media shouting slogans that reminded the public how the CPP saved Khmer heritage against the communists, who tried to wipe it out in 1975.

Before the CPP re-lit the torch of nationalism in 2003 and 2008, its platform was always the same: curtailing corruption, upholding the United Nations-backed Constitution, developing the starved countryside, and attracting foreign investment. While it has recently found nationalism an effective way of ensuring support for the regime, whenever the nationalist flame has spread, the results have shown the potential to lose control.

New temple uproar

The Bangkok Post

Phnom Penh - Reports that a second sacred temple on the Thai- Cambodian border has been occupied by Thai troops has drawn an angry reaction from the public, Cambodian media reported Sunday.

Thai Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag said no troops have moved into the area.

Ta Muen Thom temple, at the border of Surin province and Cambodia's Banteay Meanchey, has been manned by Thai troops for more than five years, the chairman of the government's border committee, Var Kimhong, told locally broadcast Radio France Internationale (RFI).

However the nation's largest selling newspaper, Rasmei Kampuchea, as well as the French-funded RFI and US-funded Radio Free Asia began running reports of its alleged occupation Sunday.

Kimhong said there was no legal doubt Ta Muen Thom was Cambodian.

Public outrage has grown steadily since areas around Preah Vihear temple, which Cambodia says are sovereign and Thailand says are disputed, were occupied by Thai troops on July 15, days after it was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site against Thai wishes.

At a press conference held just before national elections last month, Cambodian government spokesman Khieu Kanharith declined to answer a question on whether troop build-ups had also occurred on the Thai border with Banteay Meanchey.

The Cambodian government has tried to dampen the nationalist sentiment sweeping the country and urged the public to allow bilateral diplomacy to work, or, failing that, UN mediation.

In 2003 an angry mob torched the Thai embassy and several businesses over a false story a Thai actress had claimed the nation's icon, Angkor Wat temple, was Thai - a serious setback for trade and diplomatic relations.

Claims published in the Thai media accusing Cambodia's First Lady Bun Rany, wife of Prime Minister Hun Sen, of leading a black magic ritual when she hosted a Buddhist ceremony attended by more than 1,000 people at Preah Vihear Friday have not helped.

To be accused of sorcery is regarded as a terrible insult by Cambodians, who regularly kill those accused of it. (dpa)

Anti-Thai sentiment 'increases in Cambodia'

The Bangkok Post

Cambodia starts squabble over second temple: Click here

Phnom Penh (dpa) - Reports that a second sacred temple on the Thai- Cambodian border has been occupied by Thai troops has drawn an angry reaction from the public, Cambodian media reported Sunday.

Ta Muen Thom temple, at the border of Surin province and Cambodia's Banteay Meanchey, has been manned by Thai troops for more than five years, the chairman of the government's border committee, Var Kimhong, told locally broadcast Radio France Internationale (RFI).

However the nation's largest selling newspaper, Rasmei Kampuchea, as well as the French-funded RFI and US-funded Radio Free Asia began running reports of its alleged occupation Sunday.

Kimhong said there was no legal doubt Ta Muen Thom was Cambodian.

Public outrage has grown steadily since areas around Preah Vihear temple, which Cambodia says are sovereign and Thailand says are disputed, were occupied by Thai troops on July 15, days after it was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site against Thai wishes.

At a press conference held just before national elections last month, Cambodian government spokesman Khieu Kanharith declined to answer a question on whether troop build-ups had also occurred on the Thai border with Banteay Meanchey.

The Cambodian government has tried to dampen the nationalist sentiment sweeping the country and urged the public to allow bilateral diplomacy to work, or, failing that, UN mediation.
In 2003 an angry mob torched the Thai embassy and several businesses over a false story a Thai actress had claimed the nation's icon, Angkor Wat temple, was Thai - a serious setback for trade and diplomatic relations.

Claims published in the Thai media accusing Cambodia's First Lady Bun Rany, wife of Prime Minister Hun Sen, of leading a black magic ritual when she hosted a Buddhist ceremony attended by more than 1,000 people at Preah Vihear Friday have not helped.

To be accused of sorcery is regarded as a terrible insult by Cambodians, who regularly kill those accused of it.

An Open Letter from Professors in the Field of the Studies about Southeast Asia Expressed Concerns about the Preah Vihear Temple

Posted on 3 August 2008
The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 571

“On 1 August 2008, Rasmei Kampuchea received an open letter signed by professors who are involved in studies and research about Southeast Asia, expressing concern about the Preah Vihear Temple. Nearly fifty professors signed it, the majority of them are Thai, teaching at well-known universities in the world, such as Thammasat University, Thailand, University of Oxford, UK, University of California, Los Angeles, USA, University of Toronto, Canada, National University of Singapore, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, University of Wisconsin–Madison, USA, Cornell University, USA, Washington University [not clear, as there are several ones: University of Washington, George Washington University, Washington University in St. Louis, Washington State University – all USA], University of London, UK, Khon Kaen University, Thailand, Ohio University, USA, Mahidol University, Thailand, Rangsit University, Thailand, Berkeley, University of California, USA, Hamilton University [?], Chiang Mai University, Thailand, Silpakorn University (e-Learning), Thailand, University of Malaya, Malaysia, Royal Academy of Cambodia, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA, and the Oxfordshire University, UK.

“Among the signatures is also the signature of Mr. Chhang Song, former Minister of Information of Cambodia, a retiring member of the Senate.

“This letter says:

“To professors, parents, the press, students, Thais and Cambodians“The recent border dispute regarding the listing of the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site causes strong continuing protests from some organizations and people in Thailand, which led to a confrontative situation between people of both countries.

“As professors involved in studies on Southeast Asia, we want to confirm that the source of this border dispute relates to the historical and cultural heritages of Thailand and of Cambodia.
Truth can be found, if explanations of historical evidence are made by following the facts, and this should not be done to serve any political goals.

“According to this, we would like to suggest the following:

-1 “As for the Preah Vihear Temple, we absolutely support the verdict of the International Court of Justice in The Hague in the Netherlands of 15 May 1962, which confirmed that ‘the Temple of Preah Vihear is situated in territory under the sovereignty of Cambodia.’

-2 “We support and we publish intense discussions about related problems, and the provision of information should not be used to cause discrimination or to create enemies between the countries on both sides of the border, which might lead to war.

-3 “We acknowledge that also other countries in the region have the common cultures and common histories. These links should be used as the basis for international cooperation, to protect the honor of peoples, and for the union between country and country, especially for addressing universal problems happening similarly to all countries in the region.

-4 “We have advised that action should be taken to solve this dispute through coordination and mutual commitment. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations should take up this idea in order to reach a common goal.

“We would like to urge professors, parents, the press, students, and the Cambodian and Thai people to call for a peaceful solution of this dispute, by upholding the respect for the territory of all countries in Southeast Asia as the basis.”

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4657, 2.8.2008
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:Friday, 1 August 2008

Thais accused over new temple row

Angola Press

KAMPUCHEA, 08/03 - Cambodia has accused Thai troops of occupying a temple complex on Cambodian land, threatening to escalate a row over a separate, disputed temple.

About 70 Thais have been at the 13th Century Ta Moan temple complex since Thursday, the Cambodians say.

The Thai foreign ministry has denied any troops have moved into the area.

The two nations have for weeks been locked in a military stand-off over disputed land further east, around the ancient Preah Vihear temples.

High-level diplomacy has been taking place to resolve the Preah Vihear dispute, which revolves around border areas drawn up by French cartographers a century ago.

And an agreement was reached, following a meeting between foreign ministers from both countries, to reduce troop numbers near the temple.

But Maj Sim Sokha, a Cambodian border-protection officer, told reporters on Sunday that Thai soldiers had been making moves hundreds of miles west of Preah Vihear.

He said the Thai troops had been deployed in an 80m (262ft) radius around the Ta Moan Thom temple ground, and had prevented Cambodian troops from entering.

He said about 40 Cambodian soldiers were in close proximity to the Thai troops, but had been ordered to exercise restraint while the government tries to resolve the issue with Thailand.

The Ta Moan complex is in Cambodia`s Oddar Meanchey province, which shares much of its border with the Thai province of Surin.

Thailand, Cambodia trade claims over second disputed ruin

Cambodian guards at Preah Vihear temple

BANGKOK (AFP) — Officials from Thailand and Cambodia traded claims Sunday over a second disputed Khmer ruin on their border, as the two nations remained at loggerheads in another territorial dispute.

Ta Muen Thom ruin sits on one of many disputed areas along the border, and depending on who you ask lies either in Thailand's northeastern Surin province or Cambodia's northern Uddor Meanchey province.

Both Cambodian and Thai officials on Sunday laid claim to the ruin, but denied that they had increased troop numbers there since a military stand-off erupted last month over the more well-known Khmer ruin of Preah Vihear.

"We have a paramilitary post which has been there for several years," said Major General Sujit Sithiprabha, Thai army commander for the Cambodian border.

"Prasart Ta Muen Thom belongs to us. We have to have soldiers to take care of the area which belongs to us."

Var Kimhong, chairman of the Cambodia Border Committee, conceded that Thai soldiers were stationed in the ruin, but said this was not a "new thing".

"Ta Muen is in our territory, but since 1998 Thailand took a chance to occupy it by claiming that they came to conserve it," he told AFP.

He said that in 2003 he told Thai troops that Ta Muen belonged to Cambodia and asked them to withdraw, and Thailand agreed to pull out as soon as Cambodia built proper roads to the temple.

More than 1,000 Cambodian and Thai soldiers have been positioned close to the 11th century Preah Vihear temple, east of Ta Muen Thom, since July 15 when Thai protesters attempted to reach the site from a closed border point.

During talks last Monday, Cambodia and Thailand both said they were willing to stand down the troops on the border, but neither have shown signs of making the first move.

Major General Sujit denied that Thailand was building up forces in any other border areas, and said they were waiting for word from the government on when to stand down the soldiers at Preah Vihear.

"We have not increased soldiers or invaded into a neighbouring country as we are waiting for the redeployment," he said.

Thai troops 'occupy second temple'

A standoff over the Preah Vihear temple has been ongiong for three weeks [AFP]
Al Jazeera
Sunday, August 03, 2008

Cambodia has said that Thai soldiers have occupied a second temple site along the border between the new countries, the latest development in an ongoing standoff between the neighbours.Sim Sokha, a major in the Cambodian border protection unit, said on Sunday that at least 70 Thai soldiers had been at the 13th century Ta Moan Thom temple since Thursday.

However, Major Taveesak Boonrakchart, a spokesman for Thailand's army in the disputed area, denied allegations of an incursion.Boonrakchart said troops from both countries have been in the area for years.

The site is in a northwestern region of Cambodia's border with Thailand, 543km from the Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital.The temple is several hundred kilometres west of 11th century Preah Vihear temple, where Cambodian and Thai soldiers have been locked in a standoff for three weeks in a dispute over land near the temple.

Troop deployment.

Tharit Charungvat, the Thai foreign ministry spokesman, said Thai soldiers were deployed in an 80m radius around the temple ground and have prevented Cambodian troops from entering.
At least 40 Cambodian soldiers are in close proximity to the Thai troops, he said.

Although it is not as well known as the Angkor or Preah Vihear temples, Ta Moan Thom is one of the architectural wonders of the ancient Khmer empire.

It was built in the 13th century as a rest house along a road linking the ancient Angkor city with what is currently northeastern Thailand, Chuch Phoeun, a Cambodian ministry of culture official, said.

The border dispute erupted last month near the Preah Vihear when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) approved Cambodia's application to have the complex named a World Heritage Site.

Samak Sundaravej, the Thai prime minister, had backed the bid, sparking anti-government demonstrations near the temple.

At least 800 troops from Cambodia and 400 from Thailand remain at a pagoda near the temple complex, despite a tentative agreement reached by foreign ministers last Monday to redeploy them in an effort to ease tensions.

Cambodia welcomes Thai boycott of certain commercial exchange

www.chinaview.cn
2008-08-03

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Commerce Minister ChamPrasidh on Sunday welcomed the Thai government's recent decision to stop its fruit export to Cambodia and cancel its annual product exhibition in the kingdom.

"Cambodia will not be affected" by this decision, he told Xinhua at the airport while receiving a senior Kuwaiti delegation.

It is a good thing that they stop fruit export and cancel product exhibition, because some Cambodians would become angry and destroy those products on show if they didn't do so, he said.

"It could make turmoil," he said, adding that the 20-day-long military standoff between the two countries at the border area has made the Cambodian people reluctant to buy Thai products.

Dispute over the ownership of the Preah Vihear Temple in the eponymous Cambodian province and the land around it has propelled both sides to station over a thousand troops at the border area since July 15. All diplomatic efforts have failed so far to retrieve the situation.

Trade volume between Cambodia and Thailand stood at 1.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2007, a 10.56 percent increase over 2006, according to the figures released by the Cambodian Commerce Ministry in March this year.  

Editor: An

Nearly 80,000 Cambodian students to test for secondary high school

www.chinaview.cn
2008-08-03

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia will hold a secondary high school test this year on Aug. 4-6 which nearly 80,000 students to attend, an education official said Sunday.

Choeung Lim Sri, head of department for general education of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, said that this year the number of students increased about 20,000 comparing with the previous year because the government allowed primary school teachers to be able to test for secondary high school level.

He also appealed to students not to be cheated with false answers sheets sold by deceivers before and during the test.

The test is focused on the subjects of science and social humanities, he said, adding that Cambodia still lacks materials for students to practice at the laboratory.

Meanwhile, Rong Chhun, president of the Independence Teacher Association, appealed to the education ministry to take actions against the irregularity and corruption during the test because some opportunists will use the test for their personal benefit.

Editor: An

Kuwaiti PM in Cambodia for trade, oil talks

Kuwait's Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah waves upon his arrival at Phnom Penh international airport August 3, 2008. Sheikh Nasser is in Cambodia on a three-day official visit.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Zawya

PHNOM PENH, Aug 3, 2008 (AFP) - Kuwait's Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammed al-Ahmed al-Sabah arrived Sunday for trade talks in Phnom Penh, where he was expected to discuss Cambodia's fledgling oil and gas industry.

The Kuwaiti premier and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen will on Monday sign agreements on trade and investment, Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said, while energy cooperation will also top the agenda.

"During the talk, we will raise oil exploration cooperation ... cooperation in the oil and gas sector," Hor Namhong told reporters at the airport, where about 600 onlookers waved Kuwaiti flags in light rain.

Hor Namhong added that he hoped the visit would bring "fruitful" cooperation between Cambodia and oil-rich Kuwait.

Cambodia expects to begin oil production of its offshore fields in 2011, following the discovery of oil in 2005 by US energy giant Chevron.

Cambodia was quickly feted as the region's next potential petro-state, sitting on an estimated hundreds of millions of barrels of crude, and three times as much natural gas in six blocks located off its coast.

But it remains unclear how much of the black gold can be recovered, or whether any potential revenue would be used to benefit Cambodia, ranked among the world's most corrupt countries.

Cambodian official: Thai troops deploy at second border temple

www.chinaview.cn
2008-08-03

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- Thai troops have deployed at a second temple near the Thai-Cambodian border, as the bilateral military standoff entered the 20th day over disputed ownership of the land there, said a senior official Sunday.

Thai soldiers have occupied the 13-century Ta Moan Thom Temple in Kork Mon commune, Bantey Omil district, Otdar Meanchey province of Cambodia, next to Preah Vihear province, where Thai troops haveclaimed the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara Pagoda since July 15, Phay Siphan, spokesman of the Council of Ministers of Cambodia, told Xinhua.

The Keo Sikha Kiri Svara Pagoda is just 300 meters away from the Preah Vihear Temple and situated on the only road leading to the temple, which is the focus of the dispute.

"We already have our troops there patrol the (second) temple. Both sides agreed to plant border demarcation posts there and we already have one old border post near the temple," the spokesman said.

He couldn't confirm the numbers of both troops there.

Monday, foreign ministers from Cambodian and Thailand convened a meeting to agree mulling evacuating troops from the border near Preah Vihear province, but both sides haven't made the final decision so far.

Previous efforts by the two countries and the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations had failed to break the standoff, either.

On July 15, Thai troops went into the disputed area to fetch three trespassers and stationed there ever since, triggering the military stalemate.

The Preah Vihear Temple straddles the Cambodian-Thai border atop the Dangrek Mountain and was listed as a World Heritage Site on July 7 by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee.

In 1962, the International Court of Justice decided that the 11-century temple and the land around belongs to Cambodia, which rankled the Thais and has led to continuous disputes in the coming years.

Editor: An