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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Govt 'prepared' to reopen border gate

Govt 'prepared' to reopen border gate

THE government says it is prepared to reopen the border gate at the contested Preah Vihear temple if the situation continues to normalise, official said Monday.

Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said that Cambodia will reopen the gate for foreign visitors travelling from Thailand to Cambodia if the conflict officially ends, but there would likely be minor security changes at some administrative points.

"We are already prepared to reopen the gate, but we demanded that the situation be good," Phay Siphan told the Post. "There will be changes at some points if we reopen."

The border gate at the temple was closed mid-July last year when tension between Cambodia and Thailand erupted after Unesco listed the 11th-century ruins as a World Heritage site.

According to a Thai newspaper published Monday, Seni Jitkasem, the governor of Si Sa Ket province that borders Preah Vihear province, said that they would open their national park on the Thai side on Tuesday to welcome visitors ahead of Valentine's Day, which falls on Saturday.       

Loss of income

Phay Siphan said the idea of reopening the park was made after vendors in the area complained about the loss of income from a fall-off in tourism while the area was blocked and guarded by troops.

"This suggests that they want to turn a military base into a tourism resort," he said.

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