BANGKOK, Sept 13 (TNA) - Urging activists of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) who plan to gather at the ancient Preah Vihear temple Saturday to demand Cambodian civilians and military to leave the contested area around the temple to not approach the issue emotionally, Foreign Affairs Minister Kasit Piromya said Sunday that the border problem between the two countries must be solved through “peaceful means.”
Reiterating that the Thai government’s stance regarding the ancient temple remains unchanged, Mr. Kasit said the problem must be solved at the negotiating table by strictly following agreements made by the two countries and the United Nations charter.
“It is not proper to use emotions, feelings or excessive patriotism,” said Mr. Kasit, adding that the two countries are brothers.
PAD supporters earlier urged the Thai government to push back Khmer soldiers and civilians from occupying the contested 4.6 square kilometre contested zone surrounding the 11th-century temple. Mr. Kasit said the group has a right to express its opinion, while the government has a duty to promote positive international relations and reasserted that the border issue must be solved by peaceful means.
Mr. Kasit said before leaving to inspect areas around the temple that if the PAD gathers at the contested area, Thai police or military would provide security for them.
The ruins of the temple belong to Cambodia, but the most practical entrance begins at the foot of a mountain in Thailand, and both sides claim portions of the surrounding territory.
The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that Preah Vihear itself belongs to Cambodia. Tensions flared along the border in July 2008 after the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) granted Cambodia’s ancient temple status as a World Heritage Site status. (TNA)