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Talks set for Monday in Siem Reap


July 26, 2008

Thai-Cambodia border standoff:
Talks set for Monday in Siem Reap

Thailand will soon name and send a new foreign minister to Siem Reap, Cambodia where bilateral talks on the border dispute will be held Monday, reported Thai News Agency.  

Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej on Friday said he would name a new foreign minister, according to a government spokesman. Local Englsh-language daily Bangkok Post quoted a foreign ministry source as saying that former permanent secretary for foreign affairs Tej Bunnag had been nominated to be the new foreign minister.

The selection of the new minister came one day after Samak and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen agreed to a meeting chaired by their foreign ministers in a renewed effort to end the military stand-off in the disputed area.

Thailand Hote

The foreign minister post was vacated after the resignation of Noppadon Pattama on July 14, days after the Constitution Court ruled that his signing of a joint document backing Cambodia’s bid to list the long-disputed Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site without endorsement by the Thai parliament.

On Thursday, Samak and his Cambodian counterpart Prime Minister Hun Sen agreed by telephone to let their foreign ministers meet on Monday to try to find a peaceful solution to the military standoff.

Earlier, Cambodia asked the UN Security Council to postpone its formal meeting on the border dispute until after the talks. Phnom Penh stressed that Cambodia is only postponing, not cancelling, its request for the UN Security Council to meet to consider intervention in the dispute over contested land near Phreah Vihear temple.

The International Court of Justice awarded the temple to Cambodia in 1962, in a decision that Thailand was reluctant to accept. Nevertheless the only practical access for visitors from either country, or from abroad, is through Thailand.

On July 8, the temple was added to the World Heritage List maintained by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco).

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