Dispute over contested temple flares up between Thailand and Cambodia

Updated On: Jun 22, 2009

Thailand and Cambodia have been embroiled in a dispute concerning an area surrounding the ancient temple, Preah Vihear, for many years. Tension concerning the land resurfaced this week when the Thai Prime Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva formally requested that the world heritage body, UNESCO, retract their decision to name the temple as a site for preservation and protection since the land is still contested. The issue is not new as the nations have been entangled in a debate concerning the temple for decades. Cambodia was awarded ownership of the temple in 1962 by the World Court. The complication arises from the fact that the most convenient entrance to the ruins is situated in North-eastern Thailand. Thus, the two countries have clashed in the past over the land surrounding the temple which has yet to be awarded to either country. The argument has taken a bloody turn in the past with soldiers from both sides dying in an effort to protect their respective nation’s rights. The Thai premier holds UNESCO responsible for trudging up old tension. The two kingdoms have been making an effort to resolve the conflict through peaceful means. Last week, in a gesture of goodwill, the Thai returned Angkorian statues to Cambodia. Both nations are still committed to resolving this conflict through diplomatic means.

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