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Abhisit set to ‘clarify’ Preah Vihear stance

THAI Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva will write to the United Nations today in order to clarify Bangkok’s stance on the country’s long-standing border dispute with Cambodia.

Thai government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said yesterday that the foreign ministry was expected to submit the letter to the UN after Abhisit signed his name.

The letter addresses allegations contained in letters that Prime Minister Hun Sen sent to the UN Security Council and General Assembly on Sunday, in which he accused Thailand of “flagrant” violations of the UN Charter.

The letters referred to comments by Abhisit, who reportedly told a rally on Saturday that he would use “both democratic and military means” to settle the dispute over a 4.6-square-kilometre area adjacent to Preah Vihear Temple.

In a speech Monday, Hun Sen also called for international adjudication of the dispute, saying existing bilateral mechanisms had failed.

The Thai response came as a survey undertaken by the Thai national institute of development administration showed that 70 percent of respondents wanted the government to “push” Cambodians from the disputed area. NIDA surveyed 1,133 people from across the country.

Cambodian officials dismissed the results yesterday, denying that Thailand had any claim over the area.

“Cambodia will not allow Thailand to do whatever they wish,” said Tith Sothea, spokesman for the Council of Ministers’ Press and Quick Reaction Unit. “We will reserve the rights to defend against any act of aggression.”

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