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No Disputed Border Near Temple: Group

Cambodian lawmakers, government officials and border representatives ended a roundtable discussion Thursday, concluding that in fact no disputed border exists near Preah Vihear.

“Thailand has always interfered in Cambodia’s and Unesco’s internal affairs,” a statement from the roundtable group said. “Thailand must stop raising the Preah Vihear temple and border areas around the temple as a pretense to gain for its internal struggle for political power, putting a consequence on Cambodia. Cambodia and Thailand do not have a disputed border and overlapping areas.”

Members of the National Assembly and Senate met with border committee officials, academics and researchers to discuss a 1962 world court decision and French treaties from 1904 and 1907.

The meeting was a response to a call this week by 40 Thai parliamentarians that Preah Vihear temple be “returned” to Thailand and that Cambodia be prevented from becoming a permanent member of Unesco’s World Heritage committee.

Panitan Watanayagorn, a spokesman for Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, declined to comment on the Thai lawmakers, who are not part of the executive branch.

“We don’t have any objection of the world court deciding on the Preah Vihear temple belonging to Cambodia,” he said. “We accept the decision of the world court, but we reserve all rights to appeal the case, if there is any evidence.”

“I absolutely deny that which was raised by some Thai parliamentarians, who stupidly have intentions to swallow Cambodian territory,” Cheam Yiep, a Cambodian People’s Party National Assembly member, said during Thurday’s discussion. “Cambodia has not seen that the quiet water has no fish or crocodiles. Cambodia is not proud of all kinds of armaments and forces.”

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said Thailand had “exhausted” its appeals to the International Court of the Hauge, which awarded Preah Vihear temple to Cambodia in a 1962 decision.