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Govt to take temple row to the UN

As talks yield few results, UN intervention will be sought

PRIME Minister Hun Sen will again seek international arbitration in Cambodia's ongoing dispute with Thailand over contested border territory adjacent to Preah Vihear temple, according to government officials.

Hun Sen told his Cabinet Friday that he plans to take the issue back to the UN Security Council and to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, quoted Hun Sen as saying the council should prepare documentation and evidence in the likely event it needed to return to the Security Council, following delays in talks with the beleaguered Thai government.

"Thai soldiers have continued their invasion of Cambodian territory, threatening the Kingdom's security. Now we are compiling more documents and evidence of this invasion," Phay Siphan said.

On July 22, Cambodia made an appeal to the Security Council during its military standoff with Thailand at the World Heritage-listed temple, but withdrew the complaint two days later after Thailand agreed to hold immediate talks on the issue. But discussions over a full troop withdrawal have stagnated, with the Thais requesting a postponement due to political tensions in Bangkok.

Union leader Rong Chhun told the Post Sunday that he had written to King Norodom Sihamoni, requesting that the monarch submit the border dispute to the UN Security Council and the International Court of Justice.

"We see that the invasion by Thai soldiers is getting more serious and the government has no clear political will over the issue," Rong Chhun said.

He added that the ruling Cambodian People's Party was delaying the border dispute to boost its popularity.

The row erupted after Cambodia's arrest of three Thai nationalist protesters on July 15, whom authorities allege crossed illegally into Cambodia close to the disputed temple site.

Since then, Thailand and Cambodia have been building up their forces near the temple and tensions have escalated, spreading to other temple sites along the border.

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