Moeung Sonn, president the Khmer Civilization Foundation, holds up a
map showing the Cambodian-Thai border around Preah Vihear temple.
Officials on both sides of the line are calling for calm after an
apparent incursion by Thai soldiers into Cambodia near the disputed
11th-century World Heritage Site.
Senior Cambodian officials are calling for
calm a day after Thai soldiers crossed the border near Preah Vihear
temple amid a growing ownership row over territory surrounding the
11th-century Hindu ruins, which last week were designated a World
Nearly 600 Thai and Cambodian troops remain at a Buddhist pagoda on the
Cambodian side of the border, government spokesman Khieu Kanharith told
reporters Wednesday, adding however, that tensions had lowered since
the Thai troops first breached the border.
"We've called for both sides to be calm. There are no tanks or guns
pointed at each other," he said, adding that a joint committee had been
formed to resolve how the Thai soldiers should be withdrawn.
"We are not considering this a Thai military invasion because we want
to solve the situation peacefully," Khieu Kanharith said, explaining
that Prime Minister Hun Sen had ordered that no force be used against
The incident is the latest flare-up over Preah Vihear, which some Thais
claim belongs to Thailand, despite a 1962 ruling by the World Court in
favor of Cambodia's sovereignty.
The border around the temple, however, remains disputed, and Khieu
Kanharith said demarcation talks would be held after the Thai soldiers
had left Cambodian soil.
Thailand had repeatedly opposed Cambodia's efforts to have the temple
listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site until this year, when Preah
Vihear was successfully inscribed on July 7.
The designation sparked jubilant celebrations across Phnom Penh, but in
Thailand, bruised nationalism remains unappeased, and the government of
Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej is suffering from the fallout.
On July 10, Thai Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama stepped down after
the Constitutional Court ruled that he had acted illegally in signing
an agreement supporting Cambodia’s bid to have Preah Vihear temple
listed as a World Heritage Site without the permission of parliament.
Thai nationalists have vowed to continue protesting over the temple, with some groups saying they would storm Preah Vihear.
Moeung Sonn, president of the Khmer Civilization Foundation, which was
established as the most recent tensions over the temple rose, demanded
that the Thai government compensate any villagers around the temple for
damage caused by Thai soldiers to their property.
He also called for the withdrawal of the Thai troops.