>Cambodia not claiming any Thai land: Noppadon

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Noppadon explaining the new map of Preah Vihear’s surrounding areas.

Thailand has not lost a single square centimetre, as the new map drawn up by Cambodia to propose the Hindu temple of Preah Vihear as a World Heritage site claims nothing beyond its right, Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama said yesterday.

Cambodia honoured an agreement reached in Paris last month to propose only the temple and did not include the overlapping area claimed by both sides, Noppadon told a press conference yesterday.

Thousands of protesters earlier marched to the Foreign Ministry accusing the minister of losing territory to Cambodia and demanding he resign.

They believe Noppadon made a deal with Cambodia to help ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s business interests. They called on civil servants at the ministry to resist Noppadon.

Lt-General Daen Meechu-at, chief of the Supreme Command’s Royal Thai Survey Department and who also attended the press conference, said a ground survey conducted from June 9-11 using a satellite based Global Positioning System indicated the new map did not claim any part of Thai territory. The nearest point, the left corner of the temple, is 3 metres away from Thai territory, while the farthest point is 30 metres away, he said.

“The questioned naga stairs is 10 metres away from the Thai boundary,” he said, “I confirm there is no part of Cambodia’s claim on Thai soil.”

The Foreign Ministry later released the map to the public on its website.

Noppadon has signed a joint statement with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An on the matter, enabling Phnom Penh to submit its proposal for consideration of Unesco’s World Heritage committee. The committee will make its final decision next month at a meeting in Quebec.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that Preah Vihear Temple belonged to Cambodia.

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