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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thailand protest Cambodia over troop intrusion

Thailand is worried about its soveriegnty. But Thailand had never respected the neighbour's soveriegnty, and it had moved it borders deep into Cambodia in thousand squar kilometres. The interlopers Thai soldiers had been intruding deep into Cambodia.

By Supalak Ganjanakhundee
The Nation

Thailand protested to Cambodia on Tuesday over an intrusion of troops into the border area at the temple of Ta Kwai in Surin province.

It was the third Khmer sanctuary since July to create conflict between the two neighbours after the disputes over the Preah Vihear and Ta Muen Thom temples.

The Foreign Ministry's permanent secretary Virasakdi Futrakul summoned Cambodia's ambassador Ung Sean to take an aide-memoire at the ministry yesterday.

The memoire said some 70 Cambodian armed forces had intruded into the temple on September 6. It was the second intrusion since some 30 Cambodian troops were seen earlier at the temple between August 3 and 6.

"These acts constituted a violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Thailand," the memoire said.

Thailand asked Cambodia to do its utmost to avoid a recurrence of the incident in the future, it said. Ung Sean did not talk to reporters after the meeting with Virasakdi at the ministry.

The ministry's acting spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said there was no longer a military stand off in the area since both sides had redeployed their respective armed forces elsewhere.

The withdrawal of Cambodian troops from the site and vicinity came only after repeated protests from local Thai authorities.

Cambodia's government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said earlier that Thai troops had moved into an area close to the temple also known in Cambodian as Ta Krabey. Cambodia was preparing to appeal to a "third international party" to intervene, he said.

Thani said the dispute could be solved bilaterally. Thailand is committed to cooperation with Cambodia within the framework of the Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Commission on Demarcation for Land Boundary (JBC) with a view to resolving the boundary issue in a just and peaceful manner, he said.

The issue might be discussed when Thai and Cambodian delegations meet in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly later this month, he said.

In a separate issue, Thailand has dismissed Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen's doubts over its ability to host the upcoming Asean summit due to the ongoing political crisis.

The Foreign Ministry's acting spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said Thailand, as the chair of the group, is ready for the summit. Preparation for the Asean summit and other endeavours by Thailand are on track, he said.

"Recent political developments in Thailand have not in any way affected the preparations which are in line with the announced timelines," he said.

To show its commitment, the Thai Senate yesterday approved the bill on protection for the operation of the Asean, enabling Thailand to ratify the Asean charter, he said.
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Hollywood’s golden couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (soz Jennifer) have showed just how generous they are by donating a whopping $2 million to help fight HIIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in Ethopia.

The couple’s money will go towards building a centre for children affected by the disease and will be named after their adopted daughter Zahara.

Brad has also revealed that he hopes Zahara will take over the clinic one day.

‘It is our hope when Zaraha is older she will take responsibility of the clinic and continue its mission,’ said the actor in a statement.

That’s a lot of pressure on the little ‘un!

Their son Maddox already has a centre named after him in Cambodia, the Maddox Chivan Children’s Center, which provides treatment to children affected by HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
‘Our goal is to transfer the success we have had in Cambodia to Ethiopia, where people are needlessly dying of tuberculosis, a curable disease, and HIV/AIDS, a treatable disease,’ added Jolie.

Looks like they have a lot of high hopes for their tots!

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US pledges US$1.8 million for Cambodian tribunal

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: The United States will give US$1.8 million to Cambodia's genocide tribunal to aid its work in trying former Khmer Rouge leaders for their alleged crimes against humanity, a top U.S. official said Tuesday.

The pledge will be the first direct U.S. contribution to the U.N.-assisted tribunal, which inches toward convening a trial for its first suspect later this year.

Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said the U.S. government believes "the conditions are both appropriate and opportune to make this contribution."

The tribunal has detained five former Khmer Rouge leaders on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

"We want to help this tribunal succeed, and we think it definitely has a chance to succeed," Negroponte said at a press conference at the end of a three-day visit to Cambodia.

The money will be given to the tribunal's U.N. side, which is staffed by international personnel. The tribunal, which is seeking justice for atrocities committed in the 1970s under the Khmer Rouge's rule, is jointly run by Cambodian and U.N. officials under a pact both sides signed in 2003.

The radical policies of the ultra-communist Cambodian group, which ruled from 1975 to 1979, caused the death of some 1.9 million people from starvation, diseases, overwork and execution.

Negroponte also toured the S-21 prison, the largest Khmer Rouge torture center in Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh, to see what he called "a reminder of the holocaust."

It is now known as Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, and holds exhibits of prisoner's mug shots, skulls, and other traces of the crimes committed during the Khmer Rouge's brutal rule.

"It's a very moving experience to see this museum, to see the reminiscence of the holocaust," Negroponte told The Associated Press after touring the museum early Tuesday morning.

He said the site is "a reminder of the holocaust that took place, and I think it's important to document it."

Up to 16,000 men, women and children were held at the prison before being taken out for execution before the Khmer Rouge's regime was ousted from power by a Vietnam-led invasion in 1979.

Washington has spent more than US$7 million over the past decade to support the work of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, an independent group that collects evidence of Khmer Rouge crimes.

The group has given many documents to the tribunal to assist it in investigating cases against the Khmer Rouge suspects.

More U.S. funds would also be available for the tribunal in future fiscal years, Negroponte said.

But he added that the U.S. "will certainly spare no effort" to ensure that all donor contributions "are put to good use," following recent mismanagement and corruption scandals faced by the tribunal.

The pledge came at a useful time as the existing funds for the U.N. side of the tribunal's operations are expected to be completely exhausted in December, said Peter Foster, a tribunal spokesman.

He said Cambodia and the international community have invested a great deal of time and money in making the tribunal happen and it would be "a real tragedy for it to fail now."
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US urges Thailand, Cambodia to settle border rift

Phnom Penh (dpa) - The United States advocated a bilateral solution to the ongoing border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia, US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said Tuesday.

Wrapping up a three-day official visit during which he met Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and Prime Minister Hun Sen, Negroponte said the US hoped to see a peaceful end to the dispute between the two neighbours.

"We think this is a dispute the differences of which should be resolved peacefully ... and preferably bilaterally," he said. "It is important the use of force and coercion be avoided at all costs."

Thai troops moved into territory around the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple on the Thai-Cambodian border in July, just one week after UNESCO awarded the temple World Heritage listing over Thai objections. Thailand says the territory is disputed land while Cambodia claims it as sovereign territory.

The Ta Moan temple complex, 150 kilometres to the west, was also occupied by Thai soldiers, Cambodia said, as was Ta Krabey, a third temple, earlier this month.

Thailand called those claims baseless and noted it has always had troops stationed near the two sites.

But Prime Minister Hun Sen let his anger over the spread of the dispute to Ta Krabey be known in statements to local media through his cabinet.

He ordered authorities to get their documents in order and be ready to go to the UN Security Council or other international bodies for third-party mediation, government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said Monday.

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