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Cambodians Fear Loss of Sovereignty

Updated On: Jun 28, 2008

A dispute over an ancient temple is straining relations between Cambodia and Thailand and becoming an issue about nationalism. This is despite an early ruling by the International Court of Justice in 1962 that put the Preah Vihear under Cambodia's sovereignty in accordance with the Siam-Franco treaty in 1904 and 1907.

In recent developments, some Cambodians have accused their government of losing rights to sovereignty over the area surrounding Preah Vihear in dealing with Thailand to try to get World Heritage status for the temple. The group known as the Cambodia Watchdog Council International said in a statement that Phnom Penh was "tricked" into limiting its right to use only 30 metres from the ruined structure of the Preah Vihear to apply for a World Heritage listing.

The group demanded the Cambodian government recall the new map and insisted it use the original one drawn by the French for the application.

Meanwhile in Bangkok, the issue has been subject of fierce debate, both in Parliament

and street protests. Many Thais have questioned how Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama has handled the case, and accuse him of recognising Cambodia's sovereignty over the foundations of the temple.

The opposition Democrat Party launched a censure motion against the Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama, saying that the ICJ ruled gave Cambodia sovereignty over the temple but never ruled on the foundation area.

Minister Noppadon said the Cabinet in 1962 followed the ICJ's ruing and handed the ruined temple with 250,000 square metres of its foundations to Cambodia.

The Nation, June 27, 2008 , Cambodians fear loss of sovereignty







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