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Cablegate: Thai Cabinet Approves Cambodian Map of Preah

VZCZCXRO2151
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHBK #1878 1700950
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 180950Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3422
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0890
RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI PRIORITY 5373
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY

UNCLAS BANGKOK 001878

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

PARIS PLEASE PASS TO USMISSION UNESCO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL UNESCO SCUL PBTS TH CB
SUBJECT: THAI CABINET APPROVES CAMBODIAN MAP OF PREAH
VIHEAR TEMPLE; UNESCO APPLICATION TO PROCEED

1. (SBU) On June 17, the Cabinet approved the Royal
Government of Cambodia (RGC) map of Preah Vihear Temple,
following approval by the National Security Council on June
16. MFA Second Secretary Suttamon Wiriyadamrong told us that
MFA Deputy Director General Pisanu Suvanajata flew to Phnom
Penh on June 17 to receive a joint communique on the temple's
disposition from Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.
Pisanu is expected to return to Bangkok on the afternoon of
June 18 to present the document for FM Noppadon's signature.
The communique will then be returned to Cambodia for Sok An's
signature and then forwarded to UNESCO, alongside the map, to
finalize Cambodia's application for the temple to receive
World Heritage status.

2. (SBU) Reports in the Thai press cited small protests in
Bangkok and around the temple site, mainly directed at
Cambodian vendors whose presence is seen as an infringement
on Thai territory. While asserting the validity of the RGC
map, FM Noppadon told reporters that he would continue to
press the presence of a Cambodian community in the disputed
areas with the RGC after the World Heritage status is
finalized. In an effort to demonstrate his confidence that
the new map does not include disputed territory within the
temple's perimeters, Noppadon promised to resign if any Thai
territory is found to be within the temple borders.

3. (SBU) The People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) held a
demonstration that drew several thousand people to the
Foreign Ministry on June 18, demanding that the map and joint
communique be made public. PAD members have accused Noppadon
of approving the map to further former PM Thaksin's land
development project in Cambodia, near the Thai border. The
press also reported that Vice Chairperson of the Senate
Committee on Foreign Affairs M.R. Priyananthana Rangsit asked
Noppadon to provide clarification on the case, and pointed
out that he could be found guilty of changing Thailand's
boundaries without approval of the National Assembly -- an
offense that could lead to his impeachment. A Democrat Party
(DP) official told us on June 18 that his party believed the
agreed-upon map was in some ways inappropriate (NFI), and
that the RTG-RGC negotiations on Preah Vihear were influenced
by special interests. This official said the DP remained
intent on raising Preah Vihear and Noppadon's performance in
a no-confidence debate in the House of Representatives.

COMMENT
-------

4. (SBU) While the application for World Heritage status
appears set to move forward with the backing of both the RTG
and RCG, issues such as Cambodian vendors and unrest near the
temple site, as well as attempts to use the controversy to
make domestic political hay, will continue to simmer.
ENTWISTLE

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