Bangkok, the 8th of August 2010: The Thai premier rejected the deadline, stating that it was an impossible ask given the situation and the need for extended investigations into the dispute. The prime minister spoke after a planned debate between government ministers and activist group representatives, broadcast on national television.
Mr. Abhisit told representatives of the various civil and social groups attending the debate that all concerns will be heard and attempts will be made to solve every issue amicably, however he reaffirmed that a 7-day deadline could not be accepted.
Clarifying the issue, the premier explained that the Thai government had never accepted the altered map put forth by the Cambodian authorities recently. The map showed various areas of land being Cambodian territory despite previous demarcation agreements and surveys.
A ruling by the International Court of Justice in 1962 awarded the Preah Vihear Temple to Cambodia but the land demarcation surrounding the temple (access to the temple) still belong to Thailand from a previous agreement following a survey of the region.
The prime minister reiterated Saturdays announcement that the Thai government may yet revoke a 2000 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two neighbouring countries, however any disputes will be resolved without military conflict. Mr. Abhisit urged the people, especially in the border regions, to heed His Majesty the Kings advice on solving border issues with peaceful means and unity amongst the people.
Leader of the Thailand Patriot Network (TPN) present at the debate, Mr. Veera Somkwamkid, revealed that his party has “partially accepted” the government’s explanation and clarification on various issues. Mr. Somkwamkid exclaimed that the lack of information regarding a plan to deal with Cambodian intrusion on Thai territory was one point that was not satisfactorily dealt with by the premier.
Following the debate the TPN agreed to disperse from its gathering at the 1st Army Regional Headquarters in Bangkok, but vowed to come back once the group organises a larger regrouping of supporters. The TPN is directly allied with the yellow-clad People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), who will meet later this week to discuss positive strategies to fight the ongoing dispute.