Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Thailand will continue to oppose Cambodia’s management plan for Preah Vihear temple until demarcation of the nearby border is completed, Thai newspaper The Nation reported yesterday.
The premier’s remarks were delivered Sunday, the same day a 10-day World Heritage Committee meeting began in Brazil, with delegations attending from Thailand and Cambodia.
“The government has consistently rejected the map used by Cambodia in claiming the temple and adjacent areas located within its borders, and Thailand has never accepted the World Court verdict on the temple as the ruling on border demarcation,” the English-language newspaper quotes Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva as saying.
But Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Cambodian Foreign Ministry, brushed aside Mr Abhisit’s statement yesterday, calling it a “crazy deed.”
“The Preah Vihear issue is the cultural issue,” he said. “It cannot mix with the border issue. We have the border committee to work on that already.”
“Abhisit’s government dismisses and denies the thing the previous [Thai] government has done,” he said, claiming Thailand withdrew its troops from around the temple after a 1962 International Court of Justice ruling awarding the monument to Cambodia.
The Thai premier said last week that Thailand will “continue to object [to] a management plan” for the 11th-century temple while the two countries “still have to resolve their border demarcation problem.”
Mr Abhisit made similar statements ahead of last year’s committee meeting, when he announced plans to ask the Unesco body to re-register Preah Vihear temple under the joint supervision of Thailand and Cambodia. The subject was never broached at the meeting.
Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said the Cambodian government submitted its first management plan in 2007, before Preah Vihear Temple was listed by Unesco’s committee, and makes updates to the plan each year.
He said the delegation to the Brasilia meeting is being led by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.