The venue for an upcoming lunch meeting between the Thai and Cambodian defence ministers has been changed amid Foreign Ministry fears that holding it in the contested area around Preah Vihear temple could put Thailand at a legal disadvantage in the border dispute.
BUILDING BLOCK: Thai Territory Protection Network members are stopped by soldiers.
The ministry suggested that the meeting be held instead at a hotel in Surin province, which borders Cambodia, a ministry source said.
The source said that after the warning the Defence Ministry contacted Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh, who agreed to the change of venue.
The meeting will now be held at Surin Majestic Hotel, the source said.
The Foreign Ministry's warning followed reports yesterday that Defence Minister ACM Sukumpol Suwanatat and Gen Tea Banh would have lunch on Tuesday in the contested border zone to discuss the dispute. The move aims to cool tensions along the border ahead of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on the disputed area.
ACM Sukumpol and Gen Tea Banh, as well as army officers from both sides, were to have met for a meal in a tent in the disputed area on Tuesday, according to the reports.
ACM Sukumpol said yesterday that it doesn't matter where the meeting is held. He said he would discuss general border issues with his counterpart.
Meanwhile, more than 200 members of various pressure groups gathered outside the city pillar shrine in Si Sa Ket's Kantharalak district to protest against the ICJ's jurisdiction in the dispute.
Kittisak Phonphai, leader of the Power of the Land group, showed a picture of the Chong An Ma Pass in Ubon Ratchathani's Nam Yuen district, insisting that it is on Thai territory even though Cambodians occupy the area.
Elsewhere, more than 100 members of the Thai Territory Protection Network set up homes in a disputed border area in Ban Sap Yang in tambon Bung Charoen in Buri Ram's Ban Kruat district.
The group said their action was meant to affirm that the border area belongs to Thailand and to protect the country's sovereignty. However, the group was pushed out by soldiers and forestry officials..
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