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Cambodia alerts UN Security Council to territorial dispute with Thailand

[JURIST] Cambodia has submitted a letter to the UN Security Council [official website; JURIST news archive] seeking to draw UN attention to its border dispute with Thailand. Disagreement between the two countries has arisen over the border area surrounding the Preah Vihear temple [Telegraph backgrounder], which both countries claim lies within their borders. AP reports that Cambodian Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said, "Cambodia is not asking for UN intervention," and indicated that the letter was simply an attempt to highlight the conflict between the two countries. Last week, Thai protesters petitioned the country's National Counter-Corruption Commission (NCCC) [officials website], asking it to bring new corruption charges against a number of government officials for allegedly granting Cambodia's full claim to the temple in exchange for personal favors to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. AP has more. The Bangkok Post has additional coverage.

Two weeks ago, Thailand's Constitutional Court [official website, in Thai] ruled that current prime minister Samak Sundaravej [BBC profile] violated the country's constitution by dropping Thai claims [JURIST report] to the temple without parliamentary approval. Opponents of the temple transfer have called for those involved to be impeached and charged with treason [JURIST report], while others have called for the government to rescind its recognition of the bid or join in the multinational force [Bangkok Post reports] that will guard the site. The UN notification arises three weeks after the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) [official website] approved a Cambodian application [UNESCO press release, in French] for recognition of the temple as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Tensions have long existed between Thailand and Cambodia concerning the Preah Vihear temple, as both countries have claimed a right to the structure. In 1962, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled [opinion, PDF] that the temple was officially located in Cambodia.

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