BANGKOK, Sept 13 (TNA) -- Just six days before the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) rallies at the area contested by both Thailand and Cambodia near the ancient Preah Vihear temple, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Sunday he is probing reports that Thai soldiers are making personal profits from the area.
Mr. Abhisit said during his weekly television and radio address that his government does not recognise all structures built in the disputed area and the army and government agencies are moving in to make the “environment like before through peaceful measure.”
“We can discuss it if anybody still doesn’t understand. However, it must be made cautiously because if any clashes take place, the repercussions would be at a large-scale,” said Mr. Abhisit.
Thai media reports showed that Cambodian villagers had built shops and homes in the disputed area amid rumours that Thai soldiers had benefited from the Cambodians by allowing them to stay.
Mr. Abhisit said he wanted to see the proof and investigate as his government does not permit such actions.
His remarks were made as the PAD plans a demonstration at the 4.6-square kilometre disputed area Saturday, and have demanded that Thailand push the Cambodians into their homeland.
Reiterating that his government would protect Thai sovereignty around Phra Vihear temple, Mr. Abhisit said he had assigned Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti to closely monitor the temple so that Thai territory in the area would not be affected.
Tensions first flared along the border in July 2008 over the granting of a UN heritage site to the temple, although the countries have been at loggerheads over the site for decades. Subsequent talks between officials of the two countries have not resolved the dispute. (TNA)