>Cambodia: Thai PM plans to visit Preah Vihear area

>Thai PM, Mr. Samak

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) — Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej is scheduled to visit the area near the Preah Vihear Temple in the eponymous Cambodian province, English-Khmer language newspaper the Cambodia Daily Friday quoted official as saying.

“He has a plan to visit the Preah Vihear area, not the Preah Vihear Temple,” said Cambodian Information Minister and government spokesman Khieu Kanharith, adding that specifics on the visit are yet unavailable.

“We will welcome (Samak) if he visits there,” he said.

Meanwhile, Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Cambodian Council of Ministers, said that Samak needs to inform the Cambodian government before visiting the disputed area near the temple.

He dismissed the possibility of the visit on Saturday, because Samak is scheduled to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.

Cambodia and Thailand will hold the second foreign ministers’ meeting in Thailand on Aug. 18 to seek peaceful solution to the 25-day-long military standoff over border dispute.

On July 15, Thai troops went into the border area to fetch three trespassers who had intended to claim Thai sovereignty over the Preah Vihear Temple. The troops stationed there ever since, thus triggering the military stalemate.

In the following days, both sides gradually increased their military personnel to a thousand-strong at the border area to showoff their determination for territorial sovereignty.

During the time, Thai troops occupied one pagoda and one temple that the Cambodian government claimed should belong to its kingdom.

The Preah Vihear Temple straddles the Cambodian-Thai border atop the Dangrek Mountain and was listed as a World Heritage Site on July 7 by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee.

In 1962, the International Court of Justice decided that the 11-century temple and the land around belongs to Cambodia, which rankled the Thais and has led to continuous disputes in late years.

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