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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thai Minister’s US Remarks Rankle Officials

Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Phirumya upset Cambodian officials with remarks he made at a US university last week.


Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Phirumya upset Cambodian officials with remarks he made at a US university last week.

Addressing students and others at Johns Hopkins University in a lecture on Thai politics, Kasit said Thailand had three issues pending with Cambodia: questions on the inclusion of Preah Vihear temple to a Unesco World Heritage list; a 2001 sea border agreement; and an exchange of prisoners.

Kasit said Cambodia’s management plan of Preah Vihear temple would have to include a map that Thailand considers unlawful.

The temple is at the heart of a border dispute between the two neighbors.

“We see this as putting the horse before the cart, no the cart before the horse, and that created some displeasure on the part of Cambodia,” he said.

Meanwhile, a border drawn in the sea was done more through “political expediency” than international law and is now deemed unlawful by the current government, he said.

Kasit said Thailand was still holding four Cambodian prisoners as it awaits step-by-step amnesty approval from the government.

Cambodia’s border committee head, Var Kimhong, said Thailand should leave the sea border alone, as it has been agreed on. He also said Kasit should push Thai parliament to adopt the minutes of a border committee meeting between both sides that clarifies the border.
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Lake Group Continues Push for World Bank Inspection

A group defending residents facing eviction from a lakeside development in Phnom Penh say they will continue demands for an investigation into a World Bank project.

A group defending residents facing eviction from a lakeside development in Phnom Penh say they will continue demands for an investigation into a World Bank project.

The Minnesota-based Center on Housing Rights and Evictions says residents at Boeung Kak lake, which is slated for a multi-million dollar development, lost land they had lived on for years, despite a World Bank land management project.

The World Bank’s inspection arm submitted an internal report to the bank’s board earlier this month, concerning the Land Management and Administration project, but its conclusions are pending.

“We’ll continue to call for full inspection, in order to correct the current situation regarding the LMAP, as well as to remedy past violations of human rights that have occurred in the context of this project,” Bret Thiele, a legal expert for the group, said in an e-mail to VOA Khmer last week.
Some 4,000 lake residents are facing eviction to make way for commercial and residential properties under a government deal with a private developer. But many residents say they have a right to the land, having lived there for 20 years.

More than 900 families have been removed to an area far on the outskirts of the capital. Some families took lump-sum compensation. Still others want their homes to be developed along with the area.

A World Bank representative said its board of directors has until April 14 to look into recommendations on whether to investigate the land management project, which the CHRE says failed to protect the residents.
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