Home > Local News > Thailand, Cambodia Border Fight Moves to UN

Thailand, Cambodia Border Fight Moves to UN

Thailand and Cambodia plan to present their positions next week to the
United Nations Security Council over recent fighting on their border.
A Cambodian army soldier stands near a crater on the compounds of
Cambodia’s famed Preah Vihear temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site, in
Preah Vihear province, about 245 kilometers (152 miles) north of Phnom
Penh, Cambodia, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011. Cambodia angrily rejected
Thailand’s accusation that Cambodian troops used a centuries-old Hindu
temple along their disputed border as a military base, revving up a war
of words Wednesday amid a fragile truce.
(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
A ceasefire held Friday along the Cambodian-Thai border, though the armies of both governments remain on alert.

Latest fight

A
week ago, fighting erupted near a 900-year-old Hindu Khmer temple on
the border. Several died before fighting halted Tuesday, and thousands
on both sides were forced to flee their homes.

On Monday,
Cambodia’s Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and Thailand’s Kasit Piromya
appear before the United Nations Security Council to set out their
respective positions. Each country blames the other for starting the
battle.

In 1962, the International Court of Justice ruled the
temple was in Cambodia, but a main access route is on the Thai side.
The two sides have disputed the exact border in places around the
temple, known as Preah Vihear in Cambodia and Phra Viharn in Thailand.

Possible rights violations

Sunai
Pasuk, a representative for Human Rights Watch in Thailand, says the
U.N. will provide a forum for debate over the clashes, and could help
determine human rights violations.

“But the basis for conflict
resolution is still within bilateral process,” noted Sunai. “A
presentation at the U.N. Security Council will be an opportunity to
both Thailand and Cambodia to [outline] further allegations of human
rights violations to international laws as the use of cluster
ammunitions can only be resolved with independent observation of the
affected area.”

Both countries have accused the other of using banned cluster bombs in the fighting.

ASEAN presence at meeting

Indonesian
Foreign Minister Marty Natelegawa, whose country is currently chairman
of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, also will attend the
U.N. meeting. ASEAN officials have offered to mediate negotiations
between Bangkok and Phnom Penh.

In Thailand, Prime Minister
Abhisit Vejjajiva says the temple should be de-listed as a United
Nations Scientific and Educations Organization World Heritage site.

Mr.
Abhisit says doing so and scrapping a proposed Cambodian management
plan would defuse the border conflict. However, Cambodia is expected to
oppose the idea.

Interior pressure

The
border dispute first flared up in 2008, after Cambodia received World
Heritage status for Preah Vihear. Thai nationalists, many of whom say
the temple belongs to Thailand, protested, and both governments
reinforced troops along the border.

The Thai government is
facing pressure from the nationalists, who demand that Bangkok revoke a
memorandum of understanding with Cambodia on resolving border disputes.
Nationalist groups want their government to push for Cambodians off
disputed lands. The government has rejected these calls.

Source: VOA News
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Categories: Local News
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