Thailand will not oppose Cambodia’s bid to have Preah Vihear temple included on the World Heritage List, Information Minister and government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said following a meeting Monday between Thai Premier Samak Sundaravej and Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Speaking at a news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Khieu Kanharith said that Preah Vihear had not originally been on the agenda for the meeting between the two leaders.
“The meeting was fruitful for both countries,” he said, adding that the prime ministers discussed various topics, such as more precise border marking, illegal immigration, linking the countries’ transportation systems and drug trafficking.
Cambodia’s application to have the Khmer temple added to the list of historical sites was denied in July 2007 in part because of the objections of Thailand, which claims the border in the area of the temple has not been properly demarcated.
Khieu Kanharith said the application should be approved in June.
“Thailand is not against Cambodia listing Preah Vihear on the World Heritage,” he said “This is an official stance of Thailand.”
Thai Embassy officials could not be reached for comment.
Khieu Kanharith said the Thai premier pledged a $4.2 million loan to Cambodia for construction on National Road 68 from the Thai border to Siem Reap.
The construction should help build trade between the two countries, he said.
Khieu Kanharith also said that Hun Sen requested that the Thai premier stop violence against illegal immigrants crossing from Cambodia to Thailand.
“Of course local authorities are supposed to crack down, but they should consider human rights,” he said.
The two countries will also work together to determine their exact borders and resolve issues regarding some Cambodian cultural artifacts currently in Thailand, he said.
Both countries agreed to work against human and drug trafficking, he said.
“Thailand agreed with that request from Cambodia. We will continue to crack down on drugs and use that expertise to crack down on human trafficking,” he said.