Cambodian Officials Disregard The Threats of Thai Protesters

Cambodia is unconcerned by Thai protesters who have threatened to surround the Cambodian Embassy in Bangkok unless Cam­bodian troops and villagers leave from the vicinity of the Preah Vihear temple, foreign ministry officials said yesterday.

Thailand’s The Nation newspaper reported that the ultra-nationalist People’s Alliance for Demo­cracy made their demands in a letter on Saturday to Vitavas Srivihok, the Thai Foreign Min­istry’s director-general of Asean Affairs.

The protesters, irked by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s words of support for former Thai Premier Thak­sin Shinawatra at the Asean summit on Friday, also demanded that Mr Hun Sen leave Thai­land immediately.

In their letter, the PAD gave a deadline of one week for the withdrawal of RCAF soldiers and villagers from the disputed border area at the temple.

Cambodian Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said the Thai government has given assurances that the embassy and its staff is not in danger.

“I think that will not happen due to a guarantee made by the Thai government,” Mr Kuong said. “They guaranteed the safety of our embassy and our ambassador. We are not worried.”

Mr Kuong said the security guarantee was made in front of the Cambodian delegation during the Asean summit.

Speaking at Phnom Penh Inter­national Airport after returning from the Asean summit yesterday even­ing, Foreign Minister Hor Nam­hong also said that the Thai government has promised to defend the diplomatic compound in Bangkok.

There will be no withdrawal from the temple, said RCAF Major Gen­eral Srey Dek, com­mand­er of forces at Preah Vihear, who said that his troops had long-standing orders to hold their positions, and that any attempt to dislodge them would be met with force.

“My duty is to protect Cambo­dian territory and sovereignty,” he said. “If there is any invasion of this territory, we will shoot.”


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