Official: Thais Building Road in Preah Vihear

Thai authorities are continuing to construct a road leading to the disputed Preah Vihear temple site in disputed territory in violation of a memorandum of understanding between the two countries, Cam­bodian officials said Wednes­day. The agreement stipulates that neither country will develop the area, called Tathav, until an official border has been mapped.

Preah Vihear Provincial Gover­nor Preab Tann said he reported the Thai activities to the Ministry of Interior and the Thai-Cambo­dian Joint Border Committee but said that no action has been taken yet.

He said the Thais have completed between 200 and 300 meters of road into the disputed area.

“That area has not been [mapped] by the Cambodian-Thai Border Committee yet, so no construction is allowed,” he said.

The Thais have been transporting construction equipment, tractors and workers to the site since April 27, said Nhem Saran, director of Phnom Penh public works and transportation, who said he witnessed the activity as he was leading a road crew on the Cam­bodian side of the border.

“This is the third time that the Thais have tried to build a road there,” the governor said Wednes­day.

“Last year the Thais repeatedly erected roads on that site and we asked them to stop again and again,” the governor said. “This matter is like a disease or an injury that we have cured, but now it is getting worse again.”

In March, police and soldiers who guard the temple claimed that the Thai soldiers built a border checkpoint 1 km inside the Cambodian territory in the disputed area of Ta­thav, located 7 km from a checkpoint at the foot of the temple that Thai authorities closed in December as part of a dispute over a Cambodian village on the border.

Officials at the Thai embassy could not be reached for comment, nor could the Ministry of Interior or the Joint Border Committee.

 

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