Home > Local News > Cambodian PM wants to resolve Preah Vihear temple issue

Cambodian PM wants to resolve Preah Vihear temple issue

Mayuree Sukyingcharoenwong
The Nation (Thailand)
Publication Date : 22-12-2010

Cambodian Prime Minister, Hun Sen
Thailand and Cambodia should
not have a dogfight over the historic Preah Vihear temple at the World
Heritage Committee but should make a deal to resolve problems before
the annual meeting in Bahrain next year, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun
Sen has said.

The two countries have been at odds over
the listing of Preah Vihear, located on Thai-Cambodia border, as a
World Heritage site. At a meeting in Brazil, Thailand moved to block
Cambodia’s management plan for Preah Vihear because of fears Phnom Penh
would lay claim to disputed areas adjacent to the temple.

The World Heritage Committee decided to
postpone consideration of the plan for another year. Both countries
claimed victory after the row.

The Thai government declared it would
never settle the case with Cambodia unless the two countries resolved
the disputed boundary at the site.

Hun Sen said he had asked his deputy Sok
An to have informal meetings with Thai Natural Resource and Environment
Minister Suwit Khunkitti over the issue before the next World Heritage
meeting in Bahrain.

We should not have any conflict in the
World Heritage and Unesco meeting. The best way is that we should reach
agreement ahead of the meeting,” Hun Sen told Thai reporters in a group
interview in Phnom Penh.

The PM’s interview with Thai reporters
was rare. Hun Sen spoke on the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties
between Thailand and Cambodia.

Relations between the two countries are
getting back to normal since former Thai prime minister Thaksin
Shinawatra resigned as an economic adviser to Hun Sen in August. The
Thai government under Abhisit Vejjajiva downgraded ties when Hun Sen
appointed Thaksin as special adviser in October 2009.

Hun Sen admitted Thaksin’s appointment caused negative consequences to relations with Thailand.

“I’m still a friend of Thaksin. That is
my merit. A friend is still a friend, but as long as I, as head of
Cambodia’s government, have to work with Abhisit, I will distinguish
between these two matters,” he said.

Cambodia’s relations with Thailand were
similar to the relationship of teeth and tongue – they cannot be split
away from each other, he said.

“We might bite our own tongue sometimes
but if we remove the teeth it would be really painful. So we have to
let them live together peacefully,” he said.

“The border areas, in particular, are
poor and people fear a war, so we have to develop the border areas and
turn them from a war zone to a trade zone.”
Categories: Local News
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