Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cambodia will Continue Preah Vihear Market Construction Regardless of Thai Protest

DAP News

A Cambodian market near the Khmer Preah Vihear Temple will be rebuilt, a Cambodian Government official insisted on Thursday.

The market was destroyed by fire from Thai soldiers on April 03, 2009, though Thailand has denied responsibility and criticized the current redevelopment.

“What Cambodia is doing is not due to being disappointed by or unhappy with Thailand. This is the full right of Cambodia; we must do it,” Hor Namhong told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affair and International Cooperation after the signing of an agreement with the Japanese Government.

The Cambodian Government’s reaction comes after Thai urging not to reconstruct the market at the foot of stairs leading to Cambodia’s Preah Vihear Temple.

General Srey Doeuk, chief of Cambodian armed forces at Preah Vihear, said that “We still keep constructing this market even though Thai soldiers told us not to.”

Sor Thavy, Preah Vihear provincial deputy governor, said that some of the total 183 stalls have already been completely finished. He claimed that “The vendors are choosing some sample stores next week, then the working group and the vendors will construct the rest of the stores.”

“We do not care about Thai criticisms at all, and we keep our stance over building this market,” he stressed.

Thai soldiers on April 03, 2009 attempted an assault upon Cambodia’s Preah Vihear Temple, an attack which completely destroyed the nearby market. Some damage was inflicted upon the ancient stonework of the temple, now a Cambodian UNESCO World Heritage Site, by Thai fire.

A Thai army official last week sent a letter to Cambodian authority asking to immediately halt building the market, raising the objection that Cambodia was abusing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) singed in 2000. Some protesters demonstrated in Bangkok over the market construction.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has repeatedly insisted Cambodia will keep open bilateral discussions to defuse potentially dangerous situations.

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