Monday, 21 September 2009

CAAI News Media: PAD vows to uphold Thai sovereignty over disputed aera

By The Nation
Published on September 21, 2009

Yellow-shirt activist Veera Somkwamkid yesterday vowed to uphold Thai sovereignty over 4.6 square kilometres of terrain near Preah Vihear Temple claimed by Cambodia. Veera also threatened to take legal action against officials condoning the encroachment.

Veera also threatened to take legal action against officials condoning the encroachment.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said his government was trying to resolve border problems via the legal process and not force.

Former premier Thaksin Shinawatra said on Twitter that Preah Vihear actually does belong to Cambodia by a decision of the International Court of Justice.

He accused the government of favouritism for letting the yellow shirts, who clashed with local villagers in Si Sa Ket on Saturday, read out a statement reaffirming Thailand's dominion over the temple area.

Local villagers had tried to block access to the area by the yellow shirts.

To pacify the rival groups, authorities allowed Veera and about 30 yellow shirts to climb up to Pha Mor-I-Daeng, a cliff inside the Phra Wiharn National Park located in Kantharalak district opposite the temple, to read the declaration.

"We Thai patriots want to declare our intent to form a people's network to restore Thai sovereignty to the surrounding areas of Prasat Phra Wiharn," Veera said.

He pledged to pursue every legal means to reclaim Thai territory. He also warned officials that they would be penalised if they were caught involved in the territorial violations.

He went on to complain against the Cambodian government for allowing Cambodian villagers and soldiers to settle and build a road on Thai soil.

He called for an immediate withdrawal by Cambodia from Thai property. He urged the Thai military to take action under martial law to repel the transgression.

The five co-leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy have remained in close contact with Veera and the people's network over the temple issue, PAD spokesman Suriyasai Katasila said.

The PAD fully backed the attempts to protect Thai territorial integrity and was not back-pedalling from Veera as alleged, he said.

The scuffle between the villagers and yellow shirts was instigated by the authorities, he said, adding that the yellow shirts were not going on the warpath to recover land lost to neighbouring countries.

"We agree with the option for a negotiated settlement of the border dispute and do not want war, but the government must be clear about the timetable and guidelines for negotiations," he said.

Abhisit said police were trying to mediate between the rival groups but the running battle broke out because the barricades were inadequate.

He insisted that Thailand has not surrendered sovereignty over the disputed areas and that the two countries have already agreed to forge a peaceful settlement.

He said his government had no hidden agenda but just the desire to safeguard Thai territory.

He admitted, however, that several border issues were too sensitive to bring up in public, so interested parties should hold discreet discussions with the government in order to update themselves on the status.

Democrat MP Boonyod Sukthinthai said Veera and the PAD should soften their stance on the temple issue in order to avoid inflaming the stand-off.

"It looks like Thais are fighting Thais and becoming the laughing stock for Cambodians," he said.

No comments: