[JURIST] Thai and Cambodian officials agreed Monday that neither country will use military force against the other in their dispute over the border area surrounding the Preah Vihear temple [Telegraph backgrounder], over which both countries claim ownership. The meeting was designed to resolve the major border dispute issues, but the sides made no further agreements because Thai officials want to employ US cartography [TNA report], while Cambodian officials want French materials to be controlling because they mark the border at a different place. Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) [official website] Minister for Foreign Affairs George Yeo said [statement text] of the meeting:
Thailand and Cambodia gave the assurance that they would exercise utmost restraint and resolve the issue amicably in the spirit of ASEAN solidarity and good neighbourliness. Both sides also reiterated that they would handle the situation in accordance with their ASEAN and international obligations.Both countries will keep troops at the border, and talks have been suspended until after the Cambodian general elections scheduled for later this month. Xinhua has more. The Bangkok Post has additional coverage.
Tensions have long existed between Thailand and Cambodia concerning the Preah Vihear temple, and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) decided [opinion, PDF] in 1962 that it was located in Cambodia. In early July of this year, the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) [official website] approved a Cambodian application [UNESCO press release, in French] for recognition of the temple as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Two weeks ago, Thailand's Constitutional Court [official website, in Thai] ruled that current prime minister Samak Sundaravej [BBC profile] violated the country's constitution by dropping Thai claims [JURIST report] to the temple without parliamentary approval. Opponents of the temple transfer have called for those involved to be impeached and charged with treason [JURIST report], while others have called for the government to rescind its recognition of the bid or join in the multinational force [Bangkok Post reports] that will guard the site. Cambodia has sent sent a letter to the UN [JURIST report] seeking to draw attention to the border dispute.