PM: Govt to Reserve Rights on Opposition to Preah Vihear's World Heritage
30 June 2009
Thai ASEAN News Network
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva gave an interview at the Civil Service Commission Office yesterday, clarifying the Deputy PM Suthep Thaugsuban's interview with regard to his meeting with Cambodia's PM Hun Sen, in which the Deputy Prime Minister commented that the Preah Vihear Temple controversy is like a nightmare between the two countries.
The PM said that the dispute must not become an issue that affects the collaboration between the two countries now or in the future.
He added that the mechanisms of this settlement are based on each party's standpoint, which stem from past actions.
Abhisit also mentioned that during Suthep's visit to Phnom Penh, there were no discussions regarding the Preah Vihear Temple, as both the Thai and Cambodia government have acknowledged past disputes and feel that they should not affect current and future actions.
The PM reiterated that the settlement would continue peacefully and according to the agreements made in the Memorandum of Understanding signed at the Joint Boundary Commission. He warned that, therefore, we should not fall victim to those who are trying to create conflict.
When asked if this means that Thailand will drop the issue and concede to Cambodian wishes, the PM said that his standpoint remains the same, which is preventing UNESCO and other countries from getting involved in land disputes between Thailand and Cambodia.
He said that he believes that a third party is trying to exacerbate the conflict, adding that despite this, there is an understanding between the countries and two countries still maintain good relationship.
He reaffirmed that Thailand remains firm in its position of preserving its rights to oppose the registration of the Preah Vihear Temple.
The PM said that there was no plan to use force in the area and believes that cautious actions should be taken regarding this controversy because it is a sensitive case.
The Natural Resource and Environment Minister, Suwit Khunkitti has been assigned to deliver a petition to the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization asking for a revision on the matter, as the organization's decision could jeopardize the peace and relationship between Thailand and Cambodia.
Suwit is expected to report to the PM when he returns. In the mean time, the World Heritage Committee is well aware of the situation and have agreed to reconsider the procedures; but the process has been postponed to the beginning of 2010.
Further, the PM also said that there has been no report that the Thai military force will withdraw from the Thai-Cambodia border, however, the act was created under a negotiation framework that has been discussed by many related committees.