Thai premier off to Cambodia to discuss temple
Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej left Monday for a two-day visit to Cambodia, which is expected to touch on a bilateral dispute over the famed Phra Viharn temple, known as Preah Vihear in Cambodia, on their common border. ( dpa )
"We will be discussing many issues, such as a Cambodia's request for a loan to build a road and perhaps Phra Viharn," said Thai Foreign Minister Noppodon Patama at the airport before the Thai delegation departed.
Ownership of Phra Viharn, an ancient Hindu-style temple that straddles the Thai-Cambodian border, has been a contentious issue between Thailand and Cambodia for decades.
The dispute was taken to the International Court of Justice, which ruled on June 15, 1962, that the temple belonged to Cambodia.
Although the temple, perched on a cliff overlooking Cambodia, is now under the management of the Cambodian government, the easiest access to the site for tourists is via Thailand.
Thailand reportedly blocked a Cambodian attempt to have the temple declared a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) last year, citing an ongoing dispute over the exact demarcation of the temple compound, which is still disputed.
It is hoped that the demarcation disagreement will be settled before the next World Heritage committee meeting from July 4 to 12 in Canada.