Thursday, 10 September 2009

Kasit to visit area near temple

PM confirms no Thai land lost to Cambodia

Published: 10/09/2009

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has instructed Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya to visit a disputed border area near the Preah Vihear temple.

Mr Abhisit yesterday said a trip to the disputed area would give Mr Kasit a chance to gain first-hand information.

He said it would also allow the foreign minister to explain to residents about the government's attempts to settle the dispute with Cambodia over the 4.6 square kilometre border area.

Thailand insists the area is in Kantharalak district of Si Sa Ket, while Cambodia says it is in Preah Vihear province.

"We confirm that we can protect our territory," the prime minister said after holding talks with security authorities and Foreign Ministry officials.

Mr Abhisit also said the suggested visit would help the foreign minister's attempts to explain Thai opposition to Cambodia's registration of the ancient Hindu temple as a World Heritage site.

During yesterday's meeting at Government House, the army reaffirmed that Thai soldiers were still deployed in the disputed area, the prime minister said.

He dismissed reports that Thailand had lost sovereignty over parts of the disputed area.

Permanent secretary for foreign affairs Virasakdi Futrakul, who was present at the meeting, also denied Thailand had lost any part of the disputed land to Cambodia as claimed by some officials and academics.

The meeting also discussed a proposal to amend Article 190 of the constitution which stipulates that international agreements must have parliamentary approval.

Mr Abhisit asked the meeting to assess what implications such amendment would have on talks to settle the country's border disputes with Cambodia.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission is expected to rule on Sept 22 whether the Samak Sundaravej cabinet and some government officials, including Mr Virasakdi, violated the constitution by issuing a cabinet resolution on June 17 last year supporting Cambodia's move to register the Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage Site.

Thailand later reversed that decision.

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