Thai-Cambodia Temple Row Widens

Updated On: Jun 29, 2008

The row between Cambodia and Thailand over Preah Vihear temple widens, getting caught up in Bangkok politicking.

The embattled Foreign Affairs Minister Noppadon Pattama has faced calls to resign in Parliament and from sectors of the public this week. Now the Thai Administrative Court has granted an injunction barring any support for Cambodia’s proposal to list as a World Heritage Site.

The court decision came after an application by the anti-government People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) who alleging that the support for Cambodia’s bid is in return for business concessions in the neighbouring country for former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The court order could affect a joint declaration Foreign Minister signed with Cambodia, in which Thailand expressed "active support" for Cambodia’s plan to unilaterally list the the 900-year-old Khmer ruins at a Unesco meeting in Quebec.

Senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the ministry may appeal the Administrative Court's decision.

Foreign Ministry permanent secretary Virasakdi Futrakul said he hoped the matter would not further harm relations between Thailand and Cambodia.

There have been concerns about a political backlash in Cambodia similar to the ransacking of the Thai Embassy in 2003. However, the Cambodian public and media are reacting calmly at present to the Thai controversy.

Bangkok Post, 29 June, Court Intervenes

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