Council wants tougher stance (South East Asia)

The National Economic and Social Advisory Council has urged the government to take a stronger approach with Cambodia for encroaching on Thai soil and to take action against some international bodies they say unfairly favoured Cambodia's registration of the Preah Vihear temple as a world heritage site.


Suwanchai Saengsuk-iem, the secretary to the council's working group on the Preah Vihear issue, said the government had to urge its Cambodian counterpart to withdraw Cambodian people quickly and unconditionally from Thai soil. This was a reference to the Cambodians who have shops along the road to the ancient temple and the Cambodians who live in the nearby disputed area.

The council is encouraging the Thai government to put more pressure on Cambodia to evict their citizens from the disputed area.

The council also wants the government to maintain its military forces in the vicinity of Preah Vihear and not reduce their numbers.

Mr Suwanchai said the government should also expose the lack of transparency by the International Council for Monuments and Sites (Icomos).

This is the body which advises the World Heritage Committee (WHC) on cultural properties and which backed Cambodia in its bid to have the ancient temple registered as a world heritage site without Thailand's participation, in what should otherwise have been recognised as a trans-border heritage site.

The Icomos reached its decision despite the fact that the area surrounding the temple was claimed by Thailand and Cambodia, and Thailand had protested against the Cambodian bid to register the site, Mr Suwanchai said.

The council also urged the government to inform the world community about the lack of transparency in the WHC when it endorsed the registration of Preah Vihear.

The WHC endorsed the registration in favour of Cambodia, although a buffer zone had not been determined there and Thailand and Cambodia had not settled the border demarcation issue. These circumstances violated the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage sites, Mr Suwanchai said.

Meanwhile, Maj-Gen Kanok Netrakawesana, the commander of the Suranaree Task Force, confirmed that Private Veerayuth Kaensarn, 22, was killed on Sunday afternoon by a landmine near the Don Ao border pass of Si Sa Ket province. The blast happened about three kilometres from Preah Vihear

Von: 18.11.2008,

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