Cambodia claims confusion over Thai and UN temple debate
Apr 28, 2008, 10:36 GMT
Phnom Penh - Cambodia said Monday it was puzzled over UN claims of cancelled joint talks with Thailand over a disputed temple, saying border demarcation and not jurisdiction over a sacred temple was the only topic ever under discussion.
A spokesman for the powerful Cambodian Council of Ministers (CoM) said the dispute over ownership of the ancient Preah Vihear temple was finished after the International Court of Justice ruling on June 1962 that the temple belonged to Cambodia, and no talks were needed.
Although the temple, perched on a cliff overlooking Cambodia, is under the management of the Cambodian government, the easiest access to the site for tourists is via Thailand and it is a sacred site for both sides.
The temple remains a sensitive diplomatic issue, with both sides accused of deploying troops to protect it.
However, Cambodia said no discussions mediated by the UN body had been mooted in past months and the issue was under control without the need of intervention by a third party.
'We received no invitation from the (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) about talks, so we do not understand why they said talks are cancelled,' CoM spokesman Phay Siphan said.
'There is no linkage between the demarcation of the border and Preah Vihear temple. The governments agree on that,' he said.
Land and especially sea border demarcation has been under negotiation between Cambodia and Thailand for some time, with potential mineral and oil reserves up for grabs depending on the results.