>Headway in demarcation talks with Cambodia

> Var Kimhong (R) and a Thai negotiator (L) in Siem Reap, 10th November.

Bangkok Post


SIEM REAP : The Thailand and Cambodia Joint Boundary Commission (JBC) yesterday agreed to give priority to surveying and demarcating the disputed border areas in and around the Preah Vihear temple. Vasin Teeravechyan, the Thai co-chairman of the two-day meeting, which concludes today, said the job would be difficult as the area has no boundary pillars.

Teams of experts from the two countries would be sent to establish the location where the first boundary pillar should be erected as soon as possible, Mr Vasin said.

”We have agreed to move our survey teams based in Trat to Si Sa Ket and Surin provinces for the job,” said Mr Vasin.

Under the 2000 memorandum of understanding on boundary demarcation, the two countries agreed to divide the border into seven areas and survey the untroubled areas first.

But they agreed at yesterday’s meeting that priority should be given to the area surrounding Preah Vihear, where armed clashes broke out last month.

Thailand and Cambodia share a 798km-long borderline. Most of the boundary was demarcated in 1904 and 1907 under the Siam-French treaties, but the borderline has changed naturally over time and some boundary pillars have been destroyed. The border conflict flared up anew in July when Thailand opposed the listing of the temple as a world heritage site with Unesco.

Foreign Minister Sompong Amornvivat and his Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhong would today seek temporary measures to declare the disputed areas around the temple as awaiting demarcation, said Mr Vasin.

They will also discuss military redeployments and mine-clearing.

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