>JBC to focus first on border near Preah Vihear

>Var Kimhong (R) and a Thai negotiator (L) at the meeting in Siem Reap on 10th November.

By Suparak Ganjanakhundee
The Nation

Siem Reap

The Thai-Cambodia Joint Commission on Demarcation for Land Boundary (JBC) yesterday agreed to give priority to the disputed areas near the Preah Vihear Temple.

A technical team would survey and measure the areas near the temple first, said the Cambodian co-chairman of the JBC, Var Kimhong, after the meeting.

Vasin Teeravechyan co-chair of the JBC on the Thai side said the area near Preah Vihear, 168 km in length, had not been demarcated yet.

Technical teams would be dispatched to find the location of the first boundary pillar as soon as possible, Vasin said.

Thailand and Cambodia have a 798-km boundary. Most of the boundary line, with the exception of the area near Preah Vihear, was demarcated since the 1904 and 1907 Siam-French treaties. However, nature has changed the boundary line over the years and some boundary pillars were destroyed.

Based on the memorandum of understanding on boundary demarcation in 2000, the two countries made a series of surveys to search for the old boundary pillars in 2006.

The JBC meeting yesterday also acknowledged the result of the survey to locate the 23rd-51st of the boundary pillars, Vasin said.

The meeting was held in a good atmosphere and both sides can reach common ground, both Vasin and Var Kimhong said separately.

The area in Preah Vihear’s vicinity became a priority after the recent military clash. It was at the core of the conflict since July when Thailand opposed the nomination of the Khmer sanctuary as a World Heritage Site and both sides boosted troop presence in the areas.

A border skirmish last month killed four soldiers on both sides and injured many others.

Foreign Minister Sompong Amornwiwat and his Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhong will discuss today the issues of provisional arrangement for the disputed areas near Preah Vihear, including military redeployment and de-mining, Var Kimhong said.

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