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Army uneasy about PAD's preah vihear protest plan

Written By vibykhmer on Sunday, September 13, 2009 | 10:54 PM

http://www.nationmultimedia.com
By The Nation
Published on September 14, 2009

The Army yesterday urged restraint from the People's Alliance for Democracy when it demonstrates on Saturday at Preah Vihear Temple for the eviction of Cambodian troops and villagers occupying a disputed area near the ancient site.

"We should be careful about the protest as such an activity, despite its good intentions, could affect operating strategy on the ground," Army spokesman Colonel Sansern Kaeowkamnerd said.

People should have confidence in the Army's ability to secure Thai sovereignty over the territory, he said.

The conflict should be solved peacefully through talks, not by force, he said, adding that it could be settled by the joint border commission.

The PAD, led by Veera Somkwamkid, plans to call a rally this week to demand the removal of Cambodian troops and communities from the area.

Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya inspected the overlapping zone adjacent to the temple. He met Cambodian commander Cheat Dara and some Thai field commanders. He told the commanders that his government wants to maintain good relations with Cambodia and would employ peaceful means to resolve claims over the area.

He also visited military and border-police outposts in the area.

Kasit, who is a former PAD member, also questioned the group's motives.

"I have explained several times via both the PAD's ASTV network and the national network of Channel 11 that the best way to solve the problem is through negotiation," Kasit said.

"We cannot use the military to take over the contested area," he said.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said his government would not do any thing that could concede sovereign rights over the territory. "We will do our best for the national interest but we should prevent misunderstandings that could lead to clashes and losses," he said.

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