Officials Reorganizing Market at Preah Vihear

Ahead of the reopening of the bor­der crossing at Preah Vihear temple, Cambodian officials are re­organizing a market at the base of the temple that Thai authorities have accused of causing pollution in Thailand, officials said Monday.

The market needs to be restructured so that it does not pollute a stream running into Thailand, said Pall San, first deputy governor of Preah Vihear.

Thai authorities brought up the pollution from the market during talks on May 24 aimed at reopening the border crossing.

“We decided to keep the residents at the market, and the market stalls will not be removed, but we will clean it very nicely and make it sanitary for tourists,” Pall San said.

When the market has been re­organized, Cambodian officials will reopen their border gate, he said.

There is no plan to remove villa­gers from the temple area, or to de­molish the market, Preah Vi­hear Governor Preap Tann said.

Authorities have also begun to de­molish a 17-room, concrete guesthouse situated near the market, as it is an eyesore, Pall San said.

“It is being destroyed because it looks not good at all,” he said.

Tensions at the border crossing arose earlier this month, when hun­dreds of Thai soldiers moved in­to disputed border territory by the temple, Cambodian officials said.

Hundreds of Cambodian villa­gers were displaced by the troop pre­sence.

The Thai troops have since with­drawn and destroyed their makeshift trenches and living quar­ters.

Provincial authorities are now waiting for an order from their su­periors to reopen the border gate, Preah Vihear Deputy Gover­nor Long Sovann said.

Provincial authorities “have no plan to reopen it because now we are working and organizing order at the temple,” he said.

Interior Ministry Spokesman Khieu Sopheak said Monday that he believed the border gate will be re­opened soon.

“Everything is returning to normal,” he said.

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