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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Observers See Role for Former King on Border Issue

Former Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk and Queen Norodom Monineath Sihanouk are greeted by students along a Phnom Penh road during during the marking of the country's 50th Independence Day in 2003.

Former king Norodom Sihanouk could be a valuable asset in the Thai-Cambodian border dispute, a Cambodian historian says.

As monarch, Norodom Sihanouk led Cambodia’s bid to regain Preah Vihear temple from Thai occupation in 1962 through the International Court of Justice.

The court determined the temple belonged to Cambodia, but Thailand continues to dispute the ownership of land nearby, an issue that has led to a prolonged, deadly military standoff.
Michel Trane, a history professor in Cambodia, told VOA Khmer in an interview that Norodom Sihanouk is a living witness to those events and could shed light on the court’s decision and the border standoff.

“Before he is gone, we should make a request to him asking his opinion,” Trane said.

Both sides remain at odds over the disputed area, with the most violent clashes, in February, followed by a peace effort led by Asean and its president, Indonesia.

Officials are scheduled to meet in Indonesia next week to hammer out the details of a potential Indonesian monitoring mission to the border to help ensure a ceasefire.

Trane said it was regretful the former king’s knowledge has not yet been tapped in dealing with the standoff, even as Cambodia prepares a legal request from the international court on the 1962 decision.

“The most regretful thing is that his great merit was not thought of,” Trane said of th former monarch, who relinquished the throne in 2004. “I remember that His Majesty fairly said that even a hand-span of land we would not lose. And he achieved this effective goal.”

Son Soubert, an advisor to the former king whose father helped prepare the legal case for Preah Vihear in the 1960s, said Norodom Sihanouk, now 88, could advise on the current dispute.

“He has a lot of experience in diplomatic affairs, legal affairs, and all of this,” Son Soubert said. “Because indeed it’s a national issue. It is not the issue of any political party or individual. There must be unity, all together, to solve our land problem.”

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said the former king does at times advise the government, including letters of support in the Preah Vihear issue. However, he said, the current dispute is not the same as the historical case.
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Friends Without A Border's Gala Features Pulitzer Prize-winner Nicholas D. Kristof

NEW YORK, March 30, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Friends Without A Border (Friends) announces that its 9th Annual Gala will take place on Thursday, April 14, 2011 (6 to 9:30 p.m.) at Espace, 635 West 42nd St., New York City. Celebrated writer Nicholas Kristof will present the inaugural Healing Cambodia Award to humanitarian Bernard Krisher. Based in New York, with chapters in Canada, Japan, and France, Friends is a 501(c)(3) organization which raises awareness and funds to support Angkor Hospital for Children, a leading pediatric hospital in post-genocide Cambodia. Founded in 1996 by photographer Kenro Izu, Friends raised the funds to construct AHC in February 1999 and continues to raise millions each year for pediatric healthcare in Cambodia. AHC is internationally respected for quality, compassionate care provided to more than 125,000 sick, malnourished, and impoverished children annually. Since 1999, AHC has treated more than 870,000 children. Bernard Krisher's contribution to the restoration and enhancement of civil society in Cambodia is unparalleled. He drew forth the assistance of many influential persons he met during his long career as a journalist and later as Tokyo Bureau Chief of Newsweek. Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner, best-selling author, and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof will present the award on behalf of Friends. Mr. Kristof has earned accolades for his incisive chronicling of social injustice. Cambodia has loomed large in Mr. Kristof's examination of global poverty and the effort to defeat it. "It is a true pleasure for Abbott and Abbott Fund to join Friends Without A Border, Nicholas Kristof, and many others in honoring Bernard Krisher for his incomparable contribution to Cambodia's welfare," said Katherine Pickus, Divisional Vice President, Global Citizenship and Policy, Abbott. "We're also proud to share a broader commitment to advancing the health of children in Cambodia and countries around the world." As one of only five teaching hospitals in Cambodia, AHC has trained thousands of Khmer nurses and doctors as part of its mission to help rebuild the nation's healthcare infrastructure. Outreach programs instill preventive health, nutrition, and hygiene practices among rural residents and upgrade local health centers. Its Homecare program is the largest hospital-based pediatric HIV antiretroviral therapy program outside the nation's capital, Phnom Penh. Contact: Mayanna Prak Friends Without A Border, 1123 Broadway, Suite 1210, New York, NY 10010 917-817-3224 SOURCE Friends Without A Border Read more!