Monday, 15 June 2009

Govt deal on temple land 'can end row'

Bangkok Post

Published: 15/06/2009

SURIN: The Thai and Cambodian governments should jointly manage disputed areas around the Preah Vihear temple while they work on border demarcation, academics say.

Boonruang Kajmary, an academic on Cambodian studies at Surindra Rajabhat University, said unless the governments of the two countries agree to manage the area together, the border conflict would probably never be settled.

The two countries should agree to manage it together for the sake of their people.The temple problem was created by politicians and had been blown up into a social problem, he said.

While an atmosphere of mistrust remains, attempts to demarcate the overlapping area would probably fail as they would be criticised by the parliament from the other side.

Thailand and Cambodia both claim land amounting to 4.6 sq km or 3,000 rai around the temple in Si Sa Ket province as their own.

They have troops patrolling the area who have clashed with each other many times over the years.

However, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen last week assured Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva that fighting over the area would end.

Damkeung Tothong, director of the democratic study centre at Surindra Rajabhat University, said Thais and Cambodians could talk about their similar ethnicity. But when it comes to history, they cannot agree.

"I tell my students to forget the political borderlines as ethnology can promote peace. Our northeastern region and Cambodia used to be on the same piece of land," he said, adding that the people of Surin province can speak the Khmer language and some Cambodians cross the border to see their Thai relatives.

Soey Wongsi, a Cambodian graduate student, agreed that both countries should focus on the long relationship between their peoples.

No comments: