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08BANGKOK1027 THAI MFA FIELD TRIP SEEKS TO EXPLAIN PREAH VIHEAR

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“148145”,”4/2/2008 1:35″,”08BANGKOK1027″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,”UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY”,

“08BANGKOK1027|08BANGKOK871|08PARIS570″,”VZCZCXRO0694

RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #1027/01 0930135

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 020135Z APR 08

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2508

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0863

RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI 5033”,

“UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 001027

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

 

PARIS PASS TO USMISSION UNESCO

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: UNESCO, SCUL, TH, CB

SUBJECT: THAI MFA FIELD TRIP SEEKS TO EXPLAIN PREAH VIHEAR

 

REF A: BANGKOK 871

REF B: PARIS 570

 

BANGKOK 00001027 001.2 OF 002

 

1.(SBU) Summary. The Thai say they support Cambodia\’s application

for World Heritage designation of the Preah Vihear temple but feel

that the Thai perspective has not been adequately considered. After

the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok objected, the Thai MFA decided to

cancel a trip it had arranged for third country diplomats to visit

the temple and instead only take the group to the adjacent Khao Phra

Wihan National Park area in Thailand to present their side of the

story. End Summary.

 

2. (U) At the invitation of the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

econoff went on a field trip with a group of foreign diplomats to

Sisaket Province March 20-21. After disembarking at a point where

the temple could be seen at a distance, Touchayoot Pakdi, Director

of the Boundary Division, Department of Treaties and Legal Affairs,

Thai MFA, briefed field trip participants on the history of the

boundary dispute and the current status from the Thai perspective.

An archeologist showed field trip participants the quarry where the

Thai say the stone for the temple came from and the ancient dam that

was built to create a small reservoir, Sra Trao, to supply water for

the temple. The proposition that the reservoir is man-made is

central to the Thai view that the World Heritage inscription must

include Thai territory that was historically part of the temple

complex. The Thai also argue that Cambodia and Thailand must

jointly manage the area adjacent to the temple unless and until

there is a final demarcation resolving overlapping claims.

 

3. (SBU) According to Thai officials, the Cambodians have moved a

goods market, which caters to tourists, from Cambodian territory on

the temple grounds to disputed territory outside the base of the

staircase entrance. The Cambodians running the market, the Thai

say, are careless in their waste disposal and are polluting Sra

Trao, adding to the tensions in the area.

 

4. (SBU) Prior to the trip, the Embassy of Cambodia in Bangkok sent

the following diplomatic note to the embassies of each country that

had been invited, protesting the planned visit.

 

Begin text of diplomatic note:

 

The Royal Government of Cambodia considers this kind of field trip,

officially organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand,

without asking for prior authorization of the Royal Government of

Cambodia constitutes a voluntary violation of the sovereignty and

territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Cambodia. In this

connection, the Royal Embassy of Cambodia kindly asks the esteemed

Embassies not to join the said trip in order to avoid problems which

could eventually occur on the ground.

 

End text of diplomatic note.

 

5. (SBU) After receiving this note, post contacted the Thai MFA and

learned that they decided not to take field trip participants to the

actual temple or into any disputed territory, but only to the

adjacent Khao Phra Wihan National Park. From Sra Trao on the edge

of disputed territory, the delegation was able to see the temple

plateau through binoculars. A Cambodian helicopter perched near the

temple and Thai soldiers were stationed along the trail.

 

6. (SBU) Econoff received conflicting reports about the degree of

Cambodian upset and the reasons for the helicopter. One Thai

official told econoff that the helicopter was there not as a threat

but to bring the governor of Preah Vihear province and a few other

Cambodian notables to greet the delegation. According to him, Thai

Prime Minister Samak mentioned the upcoming field trip to the

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister during a recent official visit to

Cambodia, who in turn told Samak he would make sure a party was

there to greet the delegation. This Thai official told econoff that

when it became apparent that the delegation was not going to enter

the temple, the Cambodians waiting on the temple plateau were upset

at the no-show. He also said that it seemed that the Cambodian MFA

and Deputy PM\’s office were not on the same page on this issue,

given the protests the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok had made.

Another Thai official told econoff that the helicopter was there to

back up the words in the Cambodian diplomatic note and was not there

to welcome the delegation.

 

7. (SBU) Econoff asked the Thai MFA\’s lead border demarcation

official whether the Preah Vihear dispute is more difficult to

resolve than a separate conflict over competing maritime boundary

claims. The official responded that Preah Vihear is definitely the

more difficult of the two, because the revenue at stake in potential

oil and gas concessions offshore provides more incentive for the

parties to come to resolution on the maritime dispute. With Preah

Vihear, the financial stakes are lower, but cultural sensitivities

much higher.

 

BANGKOK 00001027 002.2 OF 002

 

John

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Written by thaicables

July 16, 2011 at 6:08 am

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