Far from softening its stance on the 11th century border temple after it was made a Cambodian World Heritage site by UNESCO, angering neighboring Thailand, Cambodia is defiantly flaunting the site.
‘We are all in preparation for Bun Rany’s arrival. We have no security concerns because as a World Heritage site, the temple is a tourist destination, not a war zone,’ Preah Vihear Deputy Governor Ka Lean said by telephone.
Although after recent talks with Thailand both sides agreed in principal to withdraw troops estimated to have reached more than 2,000 in the area, observers on the Cambodian side say no troops have been redeployed so far.
The celebration is scheduled for Friday, according to government spokesman Khieu Kanharith and Ka Lean.
Bun Rany is the wife of Prime Minister Hun Sen, and is a powerful political force in her own right, as well as being the head of the nation’s Red Cross.
Her presence is expected to significantly boost the morale of Cambodian civilians and military on the border near the temple, around 300 kilometres north of the capital.
Thailand sent troops into what it maintains is disputed land but Cambodia says is sovereign territory more than two weeks ago in a move that has severely strained bilateral diplomatic relations.