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Archive for July 16th, 2011

08BANGKOK2260 PREAH VIHEAR: THAIS CLAIM JULY 28 MINISTERS’ MEETING PLANNED, CAMBODIA WITHDRAWING UNSC PUSH

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“163350”,”7/24/2008 10:36″,”08BANGKOK2260″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,””,

“VZCZCXRO4932

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DE RUEHBK #2260 2061036

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FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

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INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS IMMEDIATE 0913

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RHHMUNA/USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE”,

“C O N F I D E N T I A L BANGKOK 002260

 

SIPDIS

 

PARIS PLEASE PASS TO USMISSION UNESCO

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/24/2018

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, MOPS, ASEC, CASC, UNESCO, SCUL, PBTS,

UNSC, TH, CB

SUBJECT: PREAH VIHEAR: THAIS CLAIM JULY 28 MINISTERS\’

MEETING PLANNED, CAMBODIA WITHDRAWING UNSC PUSH

 

Classified By: Ambassador Eric G. John, reason 1.4 (b) and (d).

 

1. (C) In the late afternoon of July 24, MFA Permanent

Secretary Virasakdi called the Ambassador and informed him

that Prime Minister Samak had just called him (Virasakdi) to

explain that Thailand and Cambodia had agreed that their

Foreign Ministers would meet on July 28 in Siem Reap,

Cambodia, to discuss the situation around Preah Vihear

temple. Virasakdi also said Samak had informed him Cambodia

would withdraw its move for UNSC consideration of this issue.

 

2. (C) Virasakdi related that, on hearing of the bilateral

meeting, he had asked Samak whether a new Thai Foreign

Minister would take office by July 28. Samak reportedly

replied, \”I\’ll find someone….\” It was unclear to Virasakdi

whether Samak was referring to the selection of a new Foreign

Minister, or simply to the selection of Thailand\’s

representative at the Siem Reap meeting.

JOHN

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Written by thaicables

July 16, 2011 at 6:33 am

08BANGKOK2259 PREAH VIHEAR: THAIS EXPRESS STRONG APPRECIATION FOR U.S. SUPPORT IN UNSC; SEEK BILATERAL MEETING WITH CAMBODIA EARLY NEXT WEEK

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“163342”,”7/24/2008 10:07″,”08BANGKOK2259″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,

“08STATE79164″,”VZCZCXRO4905

OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #2259 2061007

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 241007Z JUL 08

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3811

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS IMMEDIATE 0912

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RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE 1706

RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING IMMEDIATE 6190

RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI IMMEDIATE 5493

RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 5357

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RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE

RHHMUNA/USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE”,

“C O N F I D E N T I A L BANGKOK 002259

 

SIPDIS

 

PARIS PLEASE PASS TO USMISSION UNESCO

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/24/2018

TAGS: PREL, MOPS, ASEC, CASC, UNESCO, SCUL, PBTS, ETRD,

UNSC, TH, CB

SUBJECT: PREAH VIHEAR: THAIS EXPRESS STRONG APPRECIATION

FOR U.S. SUPPORT IN UNSC; SEEK BILATERAL MEETING WITH

CAMBODIA EARLY NEXT WEEK

 

REF: STATE 79164 (GUIDANCE FOR UNSC)

 

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission James F. Entwistle, reason 1.4 (

b) and (d).

 

1. (C) In several telephone conversations with us July 24,

senior Thai Foreign Ministry officials expressed deep thanks

for what they perceived as strong U.S. support July 23 in the

UNSC for Thai efforts to keep attempts to resolve the Preah

Vihear dispute with Cambodia in a bilateral track. They

asked that the U.S. maintain this position, in particular

resisting efforts to produce a Presidential statement (PRST)

on the subject. The Thais also advised they have heard that

Cambodia will try to push for a SC resolution and will not be

content with a PRST. One senior official opined that

France\’s \”colonial\” support for Cambodia\’s position would

make it difficult for Thailand \”to buy Airbus and French

nuclear reactors in the future.\”

 

2. (C) Thai officials also told us that Prime Minister Samak

was to call Hun Sen July 24 to suggest a bilateral meeting as

soon as Cambodia emerges from this weekend\’s election,

perhaps as soon as Monday. We do not yet have confirmation

that this call took place.

 

3. (C) Comment: We see no need for a Security Council

resolution or Presidential statement on this fundamentally

bilateral issue and suggest that the guidance in Reftel

remain in effect. Moreover, we should encourage both sides

to meet again bilaterally as soon as possible.

JOHN

Written by thaicables

July 16, 2011 at 6:32 am

08BANGKOK2242 PREAH VIHEAR: THAIS URGE NO UNSC ACTION

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“163170”,”7/23/2008 9:37″,”08BANGKOK2242″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,

“08BANGKOK2233|08STATE78884”,

“VZCZCXRO4008

OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #2242/01 2050937

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 230937Z JUL 08

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3790

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS IMMEDIATE 0910

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RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE

RHHMUNA/USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE”,

“C O N F I D E N T I A L

SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 002242

 

SIPDIS

 

PARIS PLEASE PASS TO USMISSION UNESCO

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/23/2018

TAGS: PREL, MOPS, ASEC, CASC, UNESCO, SCUL, PBTS, UNSC, TH,

CB

SUBJECT: PREAH VIHEAR: THAIS URGE NO UNSC ACTION

 

REF: A. STATE 78884 (GUIDANCE ON BORDER DISPUTE)

B. BANGKOK 2233 AND PREVIOUS

 

BANGKOK 00002242 001.2 OF 002

 

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission

James F. Entwistle, reason 1.4 (b) and (d).

 

1. (C) Thai MFA Permanent Secretary Virasakdi Futrakul called

in the Ambassador on July 23 to discuss the disposition of

the Preah Vihear temple. Virasakdi explained he was meeting

separately with the Chiefs of Mission of all UNSC member

states to explain Thailand\’s opposition to Cambodia\’s request

for an urgent UNSC meeting on ongoing Thai-Cambodian

border-related tensions. Virasakdi wanted to convey Thai

views ahead of informal consultations in New York on this

matter, which he said would take place on July 23.

 

2. (C) Virasakdi explained that, in a July 21 meeting of the

General Border Committee (GBC), the Thai and Cambodian sides

had agreed on virtually all aspects of a set of proposed

recommendations to their respective governments, to guide

peaceful resolution of the ongoing dispute. (The text of the

draft recommendations is below.) This progress indicated

that bilateral discussions were working effectively, and it

would be inappropriate at this time to refer the matter to

the UNSC, Virasakdi asserted. He also provided the

Ambassador with a copy of a July 22 letter from Singaporean

Foreign Minister George Yeo to Cambodian Deputy Prime

Minister Hor Namhong, in which Yeo stated that \”… the ASEAN

FMs are fully mindful that how this issue is handled will

greatly affect ASEAN\’s credibility. They also emphasized to

me that if the parties concerned are too quick to resort to

the UN Security Council, this would do harm to ASEAN\’s

standing and may actually make the resolution of the issue

more difficult.\”

 

3. (C) Virasakdi urged that the USG support Thailand\’s

position against a UNSC urgent meeting. He added as an aside

that Cambodia was pressing on this issue now because the

Cambodians felt they had a temporary advantage for the month

of July, while Vietnam holds the presidency of the Security

Council. Also, Virasakdi alleged \”off the record\” that

Cambodian Deputy PM Hor Namhong was trying to manipulate this

issue so that he might increase his chances of retaining a

cabinet position after the upcoming Cambodian elections.

 

4. (C) The Ambassador explained USG views per ref A guidance.

Virasakdi welcomed the USG position.

 

5. (SBU) Below is the text of the draft recommendations

negotiated during the July 21 General Border Committee

meeting. Virasakdi emphasized that all points had been

agreed upon by both sides, except for the wording in double

parentheses in paragraph 2.5, which was proposed by the Thai

side but rejected by the Cambodians. Virasakdi said the

Cambodians wanted to avoid acknowledging that Thailand had a

boundary claim. (Note: In the text below, CMAA is the

acronym for the Cambodian Mine Action Authority. TMAC is the

acronym for the Thailand Mine Action Center.)

 

———-

BEGIN TEXT

———-

 

Working Draft

 

GBC\’s recommendations

 

1. Both sides agreed to recommend to their respective

governments to enter into a provisional arrangement pending

completion of survey and demarcation work in the Temple area

by the Thailand-Cambodia Joint Boundary Commission (JBC).

Pending such arrangement both sides agreed to exercise the

utmost restraint to avoid confrontation in the area

 

2. Both sides agreed to recommend to their respective

governments that such provisional arrangement should include

the following elements:

 

2.1 Redeployment of both sides\’ respective military personnel

from the Temple of Preah Vihear and the area surrounding the

 

BANGKOK 00002242 002.2 OF 002

 

Keo Sikha Kiri Svara pagoda as soon as possible;

 

2.2 Joint de-mining by CMAA and TMAC in the area to be

surveyed and demarcated by the JBC for survey and demarcation

work of the JBC;

 

2.3 Confirmation by the Cambodian side that it will develop a

new site for the Cambodian community currently living in the

area so as to facilitate the survey and demarcation in the

area by JBC;

 

2.4 Setting up of a Temporary Coordinating Task Force

comprising their respective agencies concerned to address any

problems related to the area;

 

2.5 Such provisional arrangement shall be without prejudice

to the respective rights of both sides regarding the survey

and demarcation within the framework of the JBC ((and their

respective rights and obligations concerning their boundary

claims)).

 

Sa Kaeo, Thailand

21 July 2008

 

——–

END TEXT

——–

JOHN

Written by thaicables

July 16, 2011 at 6:32 am

08BANGKOK2233 PREAH VIHEAR: GBC TALKS END IN STALEMATE

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“163013”,”7/22/2008 11:12″,”08BANGKOK2233″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,

“08BANGKOK2207″,”VZCZCXRO3143

OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #2233/01 2041112

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O 221112Z JUL 08

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3778

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS IMMEDIATE 0907

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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE

RHHMUNA/USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE”,

“C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BANGKOK 002233

 

SIPDIS

 

PARIS PLEASE PASS TO USMISSION UNESCO

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/22/2018

TAGS: PREL, MOPS, ASEC, CASC, UNESCO, SCUL, PBTS, TH, CB

SUBJECT: PREAH VIHEAR: GBC TALKS END IN STALEMATE

 

REF: BANGKOK 2207 AND PREVIOUS

 

BANGKOK 00002233 001.2 OF 003

 

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission James F. Entwistle, reason 1.4 (

b) and (d).

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) Thailand derived no definitive results from the July

21 General Border Committee (GBC) meeting with Cambodia,

according to our MFA and military sources. The highest

levels of the RTG were discussing possible next moves, an MFA

official told us, although he declined to elaborate on what

these may be other than to emphasize Thailand\’s desire that

the dispute remain a bilateral issue between Thailand and

Cambodia. Director of Joint Intelligence, Royal Thai Armed

Forces Headquarters, Lieutenant General Surapong Suwana-adth

told an invited gathering of the military attache corps

(excepting the Cambodian defense attache) on July 22 that the

Thai military did not want to see an increase in tension.

Despite the highly politicized nature of the issue, Surapong

did not view it as a military problem and stated that he

continued to work closely with his troops and his Cambodian

counterparts to prevent any accidental military flare-ups.

However, the uneasy standoff between Thai and Cambodian armed

forces would continue, with Thai government officials

refusing mediation by ASEAN and both sides refusing to

withdraw their troops. The GBC agreed to meet again in

August. Although press reports described Thai villagers in

the area preparing to \’hunker down,\’ sources told us that

local administrators remain calm. Overall, the July 21

meeting may have produced a diplomatic deadlock, but it

appeared to give military leaders from both sides the

opportunity to exchange views and reinforce existing

communications. MFA Permanent Secretary Virasakdi Futrakul

has asked us to come in to discuss Preah Vihear on the

afternoon of July 23. We will urge consultation and caution.

End Summary.

 

——————————-

GBC YIELDS NO IMMEDIATE RESULTS

——————————-

 

2. (C) The July 21 General Border Committee meeting made

little headway in resolving the sovereignty dispute between

Thailand and Cambodia in the area of the Preah Vihear temple,

stated Thai military and MFA officials in multiple

conversations throughout the day on July 22. Director of

Joint Intelligence Lieutenant General Surapong told a meeting

of Bangkok-based military attaches (minus Cambodia\’s) that

the GBC began with serious prospects for a written agreement

to come out of the meeting. However, an afternoon bilateral

meeting reversed the progress (NFI) achieved during a mid-day

session and the end result was that after eight hours of

negotiations, the two sides walked away without a significant

agreement. In a separate conversation with Embassy

representatives, Surapong stated that he did not view the GBC

meeting as a failure, but rather part of the ongoing process

to resolve the matter.

 

3. (C) MFA Department of East Asian Affairs XXXXXXXXXXXX

XXXXX confirmed Surapong\’s readout of the GBC meeting.

He added that neither side conceded to withdraw troops from

the temple complex and surrounding areas, but that both

countries had agreed to demonstrate self-restraint when it

came to the use of their respective military forces and

pledged to prevent further politicization of the issue.

Mongkul made it clear that Thailand saw no need for mediation

by ASEAN or any other third party, but instead preferred the

matter to remain a purely bilateral one with Cambodia. For

this reason, Thailand had tried to derail Cambodia\’s request

for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Preah

Vihear. However, XXXXX did note that Thailand planned to

raise the matter during a July 22 working lunch of ASEAN

Foreign Ministers scheduled to take place in the context of

the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Singapore.

 

4. (U) Royal Thai Armed Forces Supreme Commander General

Boonsrang Niumpradit led Thailand\’s negotiating team,

accompanied by Army Commander General Anupong Paojinda, Army

 

BANGKOK 00002233 002.2 OF 003

 

Chief of Staff General Songkitti Chakkrabat, Border Affairs

Department Director-General Lieutenant General Niphat Ehnical

and MFA Permanent Secretary Virasakdi Futrakul.

 

———————-

NOT A MILITARY PROBLEM

———————-

 

5. (C) Surapong frankly told the Attache Corps on July 22 he

considered the current escalation of events to be the result

of Thai and Cambodian domestic political agendas (namely,

those relating to the Cambodian national election on July 27

and the ongoing efforts of anti-government forces in

Thailand). He emphasized that Thailand would continue to

address the Preah Vihear matter using existing frameworks,

such as the GBC but that, given the current political climate

in both countries, neither side could expect a quick

resolution.

 

6. (C) While generally refusing to comment on the sovereignty

issues surrounding Preah Vihear temple and the surrounding

area, Surapong referenced an MOU signed by both countries in

2000 wherein they agreed \”not to carry out any work resulting

in changes of environment of the frontier zone, pending the

survey and demarcation of the common land boundary\” (Article

5 of the 2000 MOU). Surapong stated that Thailand had

respected the MOU, but Cambodians had violated it when they

established a Cambodian \”squatter\” village at the base of the

temple complex.

 

7. (C) Separately, Colonel Natchanok Teeptranon, Aide de Camp

of the 2nd Army Area Commander, told us that the situation

along the border remained calm and stable after the GBC

meeting. He described Thai and Cambodian troops sharing food

and talking amicably with each other. The Thais have noted

that Thai and Cambodian troops in the border area knew each

other well and have good cross-border communication.

Surapong also emphasized that the border units were in good

communication with higher commands, and he was confident that

conditions at the border (e.g., an accidental weapon

discharge) would not result in escalation beyond the national

authorities\’ control.

 

———————————–

TROOPS REMAIN AT PRE-MEETING LEVELS

———————————–

 

8. (C) According to Surapong, Thailand continued to maintain

approximately 500 soldiers in the immediate vicinity of Preah

Vihear, with Cambodia having a similar number on the other

side of the border. The Thai forces included army rangers

for whom the Preah Vihear area is part of their regular area

of operations. Various Thai demining troops are also in the

area. Both military forces were supplied with light arms and

rocket propelled grenades. July 22 Thai press articles

claimed that about 2,400 Thai military forces remained in

nearby areas to supplement those positioned the temple

complex, although Natchanok declined to confirm the exact

number of troops to us.

 

———————————

LOCAL SENTIMENT CAUTIOUS BUT CALM

———————————

 

9. (C) Local press reported that Thai villages near the Preah

Vihear temple complex had prepared for the possible exchange

of fire between Thai and Cambodian soldiers by digging

bunkers and conducting school evacuation drills. Local

administrators remained optimistic that the RTG would

successfully negotiate a resolution to the conflict and the

possibility of armed confrontation is not causing panic among

the villagers, Sisaket province ISOC intelligence officer

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX told us on July 22.

Phatthanaphong stated that area sub-district heads and

village headman assured XXXXXXX that they would not

make any movements that would exacerbate the situation.

While politicians in the capital remain preoccupied by claims

of sovereignty, Thai media quoted Thai vendors near the

temple as more concerned about lost revenues since the RTG

declared the site off limits to tourists.

 

BANGKOK 00002233 003.2 OF 003

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

10. (C) Thai officials continue to hold fast to their

sovereignty claims with no indication they expect a quick

resolution to the matter. However, the Thai military clearly

appears keen to prevent the political tensions from

escalating into any kind of military clash with Cambodia.

MFA Permanent Secretary Virasakdi has called us in on July 23

to discuss Preah Vihear. We will urge that all diplomatic

steps be taken to resolve the issue as well as efforts to

avoid inadvertent military confrontation.

JOHN

Written by thaicables

July 16, 2011 at 6:30 am

08BANGKOK2207 PREAH VIHEAR: TENSION, DIALOGUE, AND EMBASSY RECOMMENDATIONS

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“162610”,”7/18/2008 11:09″,”08BANGKOK2207″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,

“08BANGKOK1951|08BANGKOK2111|08BANGKOK2137”,

“VZCZCXRO0737

OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #2207/01 2001109

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 181109Z JUL 08

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3748

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS IMMEDIATE 0904

RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI IMMEDIATE 5469

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE

RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE

RHHMUNA/USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE”,”C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BANGKOK 002207

 

SIPDIS

 

PARIS PLEASE PASS TO USMISSION UNESCO

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/18/2018

TAGS: PREL, MOPS, ASEC, CASC, UNESCO, SCUL, PBTS, TH, CB

SUBJECT: PREAH VIHEAR: TENSION, DIALOGUE, AND EMBASSY

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

REF: A. BANGKOK 2137 (CRIMINAL CHARGES)

B. BANGKOK 2111 (FM RESIGNS)

C. BANGKOK 1951 (NO-CONFIDENCE DEBATE)

 

BANGKOK 00002207 001.2 OF 003

 

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission, James F. Entwistle, reason 1.4

(b) and (d).

 

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) Tensions in the Thai-Cambodian border area remain

high, with an influx of Thai soldiers to the area close to

Preah Vihear temple. The Royal Thai Air Force is standing by

to evacuate Thais from Cambodia should bilateral relations

deteriorate dramatically before a Thai-Cambodian meeting of

top-level security officials scheduled for Monday, July 21.

Further heightening tensions on the Thai side are protestors

from the People\’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), who clashed

with Sisaket province locals in an attempt to protest at the

temple site. The clash resulted in photos of bloodied

protestors and local villagers on the front page of most Thai

papers. Prime Minister Samak, in public statements,

criticized PAD for attempting to use Preah Vihear\’s

disposition to promote a coup d\’etat. Considering the

polarized and volatile political environment in Thailand, we

recommend that the USG avoid becoming embroiled in this

emotional territorial dispute at present. Post has

distributed a warden message advising American citizens to

avoid the temple area. End Summary.

 

TROOP INFLUX INTO CONTESTED AREA

——————————–

 

2. (C) An intelligence officer attached to the Internal

Security Operation Command (ISOC) office in Sisaket (near

Preah Vihear) told us on July 18 that there were more than

400 Thai soldiers in the area of the Preah Vihear temple with

the mission to enhance security of the temple and border

region. However, a contact at the Ministry of Foreign

Affairs (MFA) said the number of Thai troops was closer to

1,000. (Note: We do not have a clear understanding of

exactly where in the border area the Thai troops are

positioned, but our sources tell us they are in an area of

overlapping Thai-Cambodian claims. End note.) Thai press

quoted Suranaree Task Force Commander Major General Kanok

Nettarakawaysana as stating that he has been in the border

are for three days and is waiting for negotiations to begin

with Cambodian authorities about the disputed territory near

the temple. Air Force Chief Chalit Phukpasuk was quoted as

saying that the Royal Thai Air Force is prepared to evacuate

Thais residing in Cambodia with one hour\’s notice.

 

THAI MEDIA COVERAGE

——————-

 

3. (C) Reports of tension on the Thailand-Cambodia border

continue to dominate Thai newspaper headlines, with photos

depicting outbreaks of violence between People\’s Alliance for

Democracy (PAD) protestors and local residents. (Note: PAD

was formed as an anti-Thaksin group, and its core purpose is

blocking former Prime Minister Thaksin\’s return to influence.

End Note.) The press reported heavily on the July 17

appearance of PAD protestors who were confronted by around

200 locals during a march to gain access to the temple.

According to reports, over 100 carloads of PAD protestors,

stretching for two kilometers, attempted to reach the temple

before being confronted by local anti-PAD protestors, who

blocked the road around 8 kilometers from the temple. Our

contact at ISOC told us that there were around 2,000 PAD

protestors during the July 17 march. The violence started

when PAD demonstrators ordered their security personnel to

break through police barriers of wood and barbed wire. The

locals reacted by throwing objects at the protestors, at

which point the police intervened. Many local residents of

Sisaket rely on tourism for their livelihood, and they are

reportedly upset with the PAD because the increased tension

has hurt their business interests.

 

MFA: SITUATION UNDER CONTROL

—————————-

 

BANGKOK 00002207 002.2 OF 003

 

4. (C) Deputy Director General of the East Asian Department

at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Pisanu Suvanajata

told us on July 18 that PAD had not only protested at the

entrance to temple site on Preah Vihear mountain, but also at

the Cambodian Consulate in Sa Kaeo Province. A leading

member of the PAD movement who led supporters to Preah Vihear

on July 17 told us that PAD has since left the area, but the

situation remained very tense. He claimed that PAD did not

plan to return to the vicinity of Preah Vihear. He added

that the remaining protestors belong to the Dharmayatra

(Dharma March) movement, led by media and social activist

Saman Si-ngam. This group, formed in May 2008 and heretofore

unknown, consists of civilians from Bangkok and Sisaket

Province who marched toward Preah Vihear to meditate and

claim Thai sovereignty over the temple.

 

5. (C) Despite tension on the ground, the RTG has expressed

confidence that the situation is under control. Pisanu told

us that the RTG has ordered provincial authorities to control

future PAD movements and to continue to limit their access to

the area. He referred to a letter sent by Cambodian Prime

Minister Hun Sen to Thai Prime Minister Samak that requested

a withdrawal of Thai troops. (The text of this letter has

been e-mailed to EAP/MLS.) Pisanu said this letter showed

dialogue was ongoing. He noted that \”as long as the two

leaders can still talk, it is under control,\” although he

added that Hun Sen\’s request was unacceptable since Thai

troops were in overlapping or disputed territory. Pisanu,

one of the six government officials alleged by PAD to have

committed a criminal offence through the handling of Preah

Vihear\’s inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List,

blamed the current tension on the combination of PAD

stirring-up the issue and the presence of Cambodian troops at

the border. Prime Minister Samak publicly chastised the

three protestors who crossed into the disputed territory on

July 14, accusing them of trying to elicit a violent reaction

from border security. Samak also blamed PAD for the public

furor over the temple and said the group hoped to inspire

another coup d\’etat.

 

UPCOMING MEETING

—————-

 

6. (C) Thai and Cambodian officials intend to meet on July 21

in Sa Kaeo province to discuss the situation. This will be

an emergency meeting of the General Border Committee, which

is normally chaired by Defense Ministers and normally meets

once per year. MFA contacts have told us that the Thai side

will be represented by Royal Thai Armed Forces Supreme

Commander General Boonsrang Niumpradit. The Thais expect

that the Cambodian side will be represented by either the

Cambodian Defense Minister or Supreme Commander.

 

ANALYSIS AND RECOMMENDATION

—————————

 

7. (C) In Thailand, the issue of Preah Vihear\’s disposition

has become extraordinarily politicized. The opposition

Democrat Party focused on Preah Vihear above all else in the

June no-confidence debate (ref C); PAD has filed a request

for charges of capital crimes against the officials involved

(ref A); and the Constitutional Court used the Thai-Cambodian

Joint Communique to open the door to the cabinet\’s

impeachment, prompting the Foreign Minister\’s resignation

(ref B). The temple\’s disposition hits a raw nerve with some

Thais, and some significant actors are actively manipulating

the controversy to advance their anti-Thaksin agenda.

 

8. (C) We recommend that the USG avoid becoming embroiled in

this emotional territorial dispute, especially during this

time of polarized and volatile Thai politics. We suggest

that we only address Preah Vihear issues on an \”if asked\”

basis, urging in general terms that all parties work in a

spirit of good will and cooperation to resolve their concerns

peacefully and diplomatically, and to create an atmosphere in

which the existing mechanisms (such as the upcoming General

Border Committee meeting) to resolve border issues can

function.

 

WARDEN MESSAGE

————–

 

BANGKOK 00002207 003.2 OF 003

 

9. (U) With CA/OCS concurrence, post has distributed a warden

message citing tensions along the Thai-Cambodian border and

recommending that American citizens defer travel to the area

near the temple.

JOHN

Written by thaicables

July 16, 2011 at 6:29 am

08PHNOMPENH578 PREAH VIHEAR: TENSIONS STILL HIGH AS FACE-OFF CONTINUES

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“162428”,”7/17/2008 10:44″,”08PHNOMPENH578″,

“Embassy Phnom Penh”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,

“08BANGKOK2167″,”VZCZCXRO9616

OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH

DE RUEHPF #0578 1991044

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 171044Z JUL 08

FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

INFO RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK IMMEDIATE 2576

RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0085

RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0618″,”C O N F I D E N T I A L PHNOM PENH 000578

 

SIPDIS

 

PARIS PLEASE PASS TO US MISSION TO UNESCO

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/17/2010

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, UNESCO, SCUL, MOPS, PBTS, TH, CB

SUBJECT: PREAH VIHEAR: TENSIONS STILL HIGH AS FACE-OFF

CONTINUES

 

REF: BANGKOK 2167

 

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Piper Campbell, for reasons 1.5

B and C

 

1. (C) Cambodian sources seemed increasingly anxious about

continued tension along the Thai-Cambodian border July 17. A

Cambodian official told the Ambassador that the RGC is

seeking a face-to-face meeting early next week. A senior

armed forces (RCAF) official text messaged the acting Defense

Attache late in the day to say that Cambodia was responding

to news of another 100 Thai military being deployed by

sending \”ten trucks of Cambodian gendarmes in full battle

gear\” to the area. In the early evening, the Council of

Ministers shared with diplomatic missions a copy of the text

of a letter from PM Hun Sen to PM Samak Sundaravej (text

produced below.) Embassy has urged minimizing the number of

troops sent to the area, noting that packing more people into

an already tense atmosphere is likely to augment tensions;

called on the RCAF to respond with professionalism and calm;

and highlighted the importance of both countries finding a

neighborly way out of this situation. Embassies Phnom Penh

and Bangkok have shared information during the course of the

day.

 

2. (SBU) BEGIN TEXT OF HUN SEN TO SAMAK LETTER

 

DEAR EXCELLENCY,

 

FIRST. I WOULD LIKE TO EXPRESS MY SINCERE THANKS TO YOUR

EXCELLENCY AND I WAS VERY PLEASED TO TALK WITH YOU ON THE

TELEPHONE ON THE NIGHT OF 16 JULY 2008. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT

WE, REPRESENTATIVES OF OUR TWO STATES, HAVE STILL REAFFIRMED

THE ONGOING AND GOOD NEIGHBORLY RELATIONS AND LONG-LASTING

COOPERATION SO THAT WE COULD RESOLVE THE PROBLEM THROUGH

NEGOTIATIONS AS WELL AS SETTING THE MEETING SCHEDULE BETWEEN

YOUR EXCELLENCY AND HIS EXCELLENCY TEA BANH (NOTE: CAMBODIAN

MINISTER OF DEFENSE) ON 21 JULY 2008.

 

DURING OUR TELEPHONE CONVERSATION, I ASKED YOUR EXCELLENCY TO

ORDER THE WITHDRAWAL OF THAI TROOPS FROM THE AREA OF KEO

SIKHA KIRI SVARA PAGODA (CALLED PREAH VIHEAR PAGODA) NEAR THE

TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR, SO THAT THE SITUATION COULD RETURN TO

THE STATUS PRIOR TO 15 JULY 2008.

 

UNFORTUNATELY, AS OF 17 JULY 2008 THE SITUATION IS WORSENING

DUE TO A CONTINUING INCREASE IN THE NUMBERS OF THAI MILITARY

INSIDE AND AROUND THE AREA OF KEO SIKHA KIRI SVARA PAGODA

(CALLED PREAH VIHEAR PAGODA) AND THE PRESENCE OF THAI

PROTESTERS.

 

THE DETERIORATING SITUATION IS VERY BAD FOR THE RELATIONS

BETWEEN OUR TWO COUNTRIES, AND, THEREFORE, I WOULD LIKE TO

ASK YOUR EXCELLENCY TO TAKE MEASURES TO EASE THE TENSIONS AND

ORDER THE THAI TROOPS TO WITHDRAW FROM THE AREA OF KEO SIKHA

KIRI SVARA PAGODA (CALLED PREAH VIHEAR PAGODA) NEAR PREAH

VIHEAR TEMPLE. THESE TROOPS HAVE ENCROACHED ON OUR TERRITORY

ON 15 JULY 2008, AND HAVE SINCE INCREASED IN NUMBERS RATHER

THAN WITHDRAWING.

 

PLEASE ACCEPT, YOUR EXCELLENCY, THE ASSURANCES OF MY HIGHEST

CONSIDERATIONS.

 

SIGNED AND STAMPED

 

HUN SEN

PRIME MINISTER

KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA

 

17 JULY

 

END TEXT.

 

MUSSOMELI

Written by thaicables

July 16, 2011 at 6:28 am

08BANGKOK2167 THAIS DENY MILITARY INCURSION INTO CAMBODIA AFTER PROTESTORS ENTER DISPUTED TERRITORY

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“162247”,”7/16/2008 10:36″,”08BANGKOK2167″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,””,

“VZCZCXRO8149

OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #2167/01 1981036

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 161036Z JUL 08

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3712

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0898

RUEHPF/AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH PRIORITY 2665

RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI PRIORITY 5462

RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY”,”C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 002167

 

SIPDIS

 

PARIS PLEASE PASS TO US MISSION UNESCO

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/16/2018

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, UNESCO, SCUL, MOPS, PBTS, TH, CB

SUBJECT: THAIS DENY MILITARY INCURSION INTO CAMBODIA AFTER

PROTESTORS ENTER DISPUTED TERRITORY

 

REF: A. STATE: 02137 (CRIMINAL CHARGES)

B. STATE: 02111 (FM RESIGNS)

 

BANGKOK 00002167 001.2 OF 002

 

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (SBU) On July 15, a senior monk and two other Thais

crossed into disputed territory between Thailand and Cambodia

in protest of Preah Vihear temple\’s World Heritage status.

Tempers flared on both sides when Cambodian and Thai press

reported that large numbers of Thai troops had entered

Cambodian territory to rescue the protestors and that some

troops had been detained. Some Thai press denied the

allegations and reported that Royal Thai Armed Forces Supreme

Commander General Boonsrang had secured the release of the

prisoners with a phone call to Cambodian Defense Minister

Teah Banh. The sense of tension was heightened with the

additional report of a Thai solider losing a leg to a

landmine near Preah Vihear. Thai officials told us that all

reports of a troop incursion into Cambodia are unfounded.

End Summary.

 

2. (SBU) On the morning of July 15, a senior monk and two

other protestors crossed into disputed territory in the

vicinity of the Preah Vihear temple, in protest of the

decision to inscribe the temple on the UNESCO World Heritage

List. The protestors claimed an affiliation with the

\”Dharmayatra\” organization, which the local press has

described as \”ultranationalistic.\” (Note: We do not believe

this group, heretofore unknown to us, is connected to the

\”Dharma Army\” associated with leading anti-government figure

Chamlong Srimuang. End Note.)

 

3. (SBU) Thai press quoted a Cambodian official as saying

that 40 Thai troops entered Cambodia on the morning of July

15 after Cambodian soldiers seized the protestors for evading

a border-crossing checkpoint. Cambodian government spokesman

Khieu Kanharith was quoted as stating that 140 Thai troops

crossed into Cambodian territory to assist the protestors,

and that some had been detained – although Khanarith later

protested to Cambodia-based journalists that he had never

said anything about Thai soldiers being detained by Cambodian

military. However, a Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA)

official told us that Thai troops never entered Cambodian

territory and that there was no \”incident\” involving Thai

troops. He described the area around Preah Vihear as \”good

and controllable,\” noting that the three protestors had been

released but will most likely continue to protest the RTG\’s

policies over Preah Vihear. Both a Deputy Army Spokesman and

the Deputy Governor for Security Affairs of Sisaket Province,

which borders the Cambodian site where the temple is located,

told us that the news reports were unfounded. An Australian

diplomat told us that her Embassy\’s contacts in the Thai

military also asserted Thai troops had not been detained.

Some Thai press denied the allegations and reported that

Royal Thai Armed Forces Supreme Commander General Boonsrang

had secured the release of the prisoners with a phone call to

Cambodian Defense Minister Teah Banh.

 

4. (C) A BBC correspondent who wrote an article alleging the

incursion into Cambodia of 40 Thai soldier told us that he

received this information from Cambodian authorities. He

added that the Thai soldiers most likely crossed into

disputed territory, noting that the Thais probably did not

view this as Cambodian land. He said that the Thai soldiers

he interviewed during his visit to the area had been

stationed at the temple border area for many years and most

speak Khmer. However, they told him that they stopped their

daily conversations with the Cambodian border soldiers after

the temple\’s inscription. Since his last visit to the area,

the correspondent noted an addition by the Thai side of

layered barbed-wire with multiple warnings of landmines. He

saw the Cambodians approaching the wire several times and the

Thais yelling at them to retreat. The tension was definitely

high, he added. (An Embassy DAO officer who visited the area

on June 30 confirmed that Thai soldiers were fortifying their

positions, and some of the junior troops believed they might

clash with the Cambodians.)

 

5. (C) The BBC correspondent was also at the temple site with

a group of Thai Rangers when their radios picked up the

report of a landmine blast that resulted in a Ranger losing a

leg. The Rangers considered the event unrelated to the

tension at the temple since it occurred around four

 

BANGKOK 00002167 002.2 OF 002

 

kilometers away from the site, when the Ranger was conducting

a routine border patrol. The Rangers told the correspondent

that the landmine was likely many years old, in an area known

for being littered with the old devices.

 

6. (SBU) The debate over Preah Vihear on internet sites

reflected the polarized national political environment. Some

postings expressed anger at the anti-government People

Alliance for Democracy (PAD) for exacerbating the issue (ref

A). Popular Thai website and chat board http://www.pantip.com

featured debates that centered around Thailand and Cambodia

potentially going to war over Preah Vihear and the role of

PAD in the controversy. Some posters assessed that the U.S.

would aid Thailand while China would side with Cambodia;

others said that both the U.S. and the UN would not interfere

in the conflict. Some online commentators noted that

Cambodia successfully promoted its stance on Preah Vihear

during Thailand\’s 2006 coup, adding that the loss of the

temple could not be blamed entirely on former Foreign

Minister Noppadon Pattama (ref B). They seemed to suggest

that the U.S. chose to favor Cambodia on the temple issue

since it held a democratically-elected government in contrast

to Thailand\’s interim military government.

 

COMMENT

——-

 

7. (SBU) Despite its World Heritage status, the controversies

surrounding Preah Vihear continue, mainly fueled by turmoil

in domestic Thai politics. Many Thais, whether they support

the People\’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) or not, seem

genuinely dismayed over the perceived lack of transparency in

the Samak government over the Preah Vihear joint communique

and the map submitted to UNESCO. Political cartoons continue

to portray the event as a loss of Thai territory and depict

Thaksin as the only Thai who benefited from the UNESCO

decision. (Thaksin\’s opponents allege he used his influence

to support inscription and, in return, received favorable

treatment in ostensibly unrelated commercial transactions.)

We will continue to monitor how Preah Vihear is used to fuel

nationalist sentiments and channel displeasure over the

current government\’s performance.

 

8. (SBU) This cable was coordinated with Embassy Phnom Penh,

which reports that the Thai-Cambodian face off was front page

news in most local papers today, but with both Cambodian and

local Thai officials seeming to try to defuse the situation.

The Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh responded to local media

inquiries with a faxed statement dismissing rumors that Thai

military personnel had entered into Cambodia territory and

asserting instead that a few Thai paramilitary personnel were

introduced into the border area within Thai territory.

 

JOHN

Written by thaicables

July 16, 2011 at 6:27 am