National Day Sought to Mark 1962 Preah Vihear Temple Ruling

Three organizations are seeking permission to hold a national day of celebration to mark the June 15, 1962 decision by the International Court of Justice declaring that Preah Vihear temple belongs to Cambodia and not Thailand.

The Khmer Civilization Asso­ciation, which is comprised of travel agents, academics, government officials and others, met on Friday to discuss details of the hoped-for celebration.

“We will celebrate the 46th Preah Vihear anniversary that clarified Cambodia’s claims to Preah Vihear,” said Moeung Sonn, president of the National Association of Tourism Enter­prises and founder of the Khmer Civilization Association.

Moeung Sonn said the group along with the Khmer Arts Association and the Association of Cambodian Artist Friends will send a petition to the Ministry of Culture and Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting permission to hold the first celebration day on June 15.

He added that celebrating Cambodia’s victory at the international court should not irk Thailand.

“This should have no affect on Thailand because Thailand understands international law and recognizes the [International Court of Justice’s] decision,” Moeung Sonn said.

“We will produce [information] leaflets for students related to Preah Vihear’s history and the success of the [court decision],” he added. He said the first celebration will likely be a small one.

Thai embassy officials could not be reached for comment on Friday.

The 1962 ICJ decision ordered the Thai government to withdraw its troops which had occupied the temple since 1954.

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said that such a celebration shouldn’t affect relations with Thailand.

“It is our heritage,” Cheam Yeap said. “It is important for Cambodian people to know about Preah Vihear.”

Cambodia has been lobbying to have Preah Vihear temple placed on the World Heritage List, a move that Thailand has said must be linked to resolution of the area’s undemarcated border.

Thai Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Virasakdi Futrakul affirmed Thailand’s support for the listing after a meeting with Cam­bodian officials in Phnom Penh Tuesday, Council of Mini­sters spokesman Phay Siphan said following the meeting.

Cambodia aims to have the temple listed at the 32nd session of the World Heritage Committee in July.


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