Saturday, June 27, 2009

June 27, 2009; Cambodia and Thailand Meets

PHNOM PENH, June 27 - Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen met with Thailand's deputy premier on Saturday as diplomatic tensions mounted over a 900-year-old temple that sits on the border between the two countries.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva sent Suthep Thaugsuban, to meet Hun Sen to explain why Thailand was challenging a U.N. decision to make the Preah Vihear temple a world heritage site under the sole jurisdiction of Cambodia.

Thailand wants joint development and supervision of the Hindu temple perched on an escarpment that forms a natural border between the Southeast Asian neighbours and could one day be a lucrative tourist site.

Thailand's latest questioning of the temple's status has angered Phnom Penh, and both sides have sent more troops to the disputed area around Preah Vihear.

Hun Sen had earlier said Preah Vihear was not up for discussion and on Friday told local television that Suthep was welcome "to raise the issue of withdrawing Thai troops from the border".

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