>Thai PM Samak’s "Note" sent to Cambodian PM

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Samak (R) greets Hun Sen (L) during Samak’s visit to Cambodia on 3rd March, 2008.

BANGKOK, July 19 (Xinhua) — Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has invited Cambodian Ambassador Ung Sean to receive a letter from Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in response to the Cambodian premier’s July17 diplomatic “Note”, the official Thai News Agency reported on Saturday.

On Friday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs invited Ung Sean to receive Samak’s letter to Hun Sen in reply to his July 17 Note.

Samak reaffirmed the Royal Thai Government’s resolve to seek a just and peaceful solution to the situation in the area immediately adjacent to the Temple of Preah Vihear, which stands at a disputed area between Thailand and Cambodia.

The Thai premier said he has instructed the Supreme Commander of the Royal Thai Armed Forces to lead Thai delegates to Monday’s session of the Thai-Cambodian General Border Committee (GBC) in Thailand’s Sa Kaeo Province to discuss issues surrounding the situation with the Cambodian side in a spirit of friendship and cooperation.

Samak affirmed that the two countries should use every means to prevent escalation of the situation.

The Thai prime minister emphasized that the area of Keo Sikha Kiri Svara Pagoda mentioned in the Cambodian Prime Minister’s Note is within Thai territory, and that the establishment of a Khmer community, including building a temple and homes, as well as stationing Cambodian military personnel in the area constitute a continued violation of Thailand’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The Royal Thai Government has issued four written protests to Cambodia regarding this matter in 2004, 2005, 2007 and April 2008 respectively, the report said.

Meanwhile, the deployment by Cambodia of more than 1,000 troops, in addition to around 200 troops stationed there earlier, has caused the situation to deteriorate.

The Thai Prime Minister called on both sides to exercise restraint and hopes that the Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Commission will accelerate its work to survey and demarcate the entire stretch of the Thai-Cambodian border so that similar problems would not arise in the future.

Later on Friday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs invited the remaining eight ASEAN ambassadors to the ministry inform them of the situation.

Both countries historically laid claim to the 11th century temple, which now sits on Cambodian soil following the action of the International Court of Justice which awarded the ancient temple to Cambodia in 1962. However, the temple can practicably only be accessed from Thailand.

However, the exact demarcation of the border around the ruins remains in contention.

The security situation around the temple deteriorated after three Thais, including a Buddhist monk, were briefly detained by Cambodian soldiers after surreptitiously crossing into the disputed border area on Tuesday. The trio were released the same day but refused to leave the 4.6 square kilometer disputed area adjoining the temple complex.

Thailand first issued a warning that travel to the vicinity of the temple be avoided, but later closed off access altogether within 10 kilometers of the temple.

Editor: Sun Yunlong

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