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Group to Protest Thai Premier’s Visit

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva will make an official visit to Cambodia Friday, but he won’t receive a warm reception from everyone.

The Cambodian Confederation of Unions plans to hold a protest of Thai incursions into Cambodia along the disputed border, following nearly a yearlong military standoff near Preah Vihear temple.

“We want the Thai prime minister to remove troops from Cambodia and keep the situation the same as it was on July 15, 2008,” said Rong Chhun, head of the confederation.

Phnom Penh authorities say they will not allow a protest.

“Such a demonstration cannot resolve a border dispute,” Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema said.

Thai Embassy officials declined to comment on the protest. Abhisit is scheduled to visit senior leaders, including Prime Minister Hun Sen and King Norodom Sihamoni.

Thailand and Cambodia are in a standoff over a small stretch of disputed border that was sparked by the inclusion of Preah Vihear temple as a Unesco World Heritage site under Cambodia in July 2008.

At least three soldiers on each side have died in ensuing skirmishes, with hundreds of troops entrenched along the border.

Thai-Cambodian relations are particularly volatile. Cambodian mobs looted and burned the Thai Embassy and Thai businesses in 2003, following unconfirmed rumors a Thai actress had said Angkor Wat belonged to Thailand.