Cambodia denies plans to reopen Thai access to Preah Vihear

Cambodia denies plans to reopen Thai access to Preah Vihear

At the podiums, Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh, left, and his Thai counterpart Gen Prawit Wongsuwon discuss the results of the 11th General Border Committee at the Thai Defence Ministry on Thursday. (Photo by Pattanapong Hirunard)
At the podiums, Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh, left, and his Thai counterpart Gen Prawit Wongsuwon discuss the results of the 11th General Border Committee at the Thai Defence Ministry on Thursday. (Photo by Pattanapong Hirunard)

Cambodia’s defence ministry has denied the country is considering reopening access to the Preah Vihear temple from the Thai side of the border.

A ministry spokesman told the Phnom Penh Post that Defence Minister Tea Banh did not discuss the potential for reopening access to the disputed temple from Si Sa Ket's Kantharalak district during the General Border Committee at the Thai Defence Ministry on Thursday.

The Bangkok Post reported the Gen Tea Banh said preparations have been made to allow passage to the temple via Pha Mor E-daeng on the Thai side, though discussions over the issue are still ongoing.

Cambodian ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat told the Cambodian paper the report was inaccurate.

"I would like to confirm that the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Tea Banh did not talk at all about the Preah Vihear temple issue during the meeting in Thailand, even during the press conference. The report by the media was not true," Chhum Socheat said.

"Both Cambodia and Thailand discussed the upgrading of international border-crossing checkpoints in some other areas, but not Preah Vihear."

The Si Sa Ket crossing has been closed since 2009 due to military skirmishes around the contested 11th-century temple.

Gen Tea Banh made no reference to the temple or opening Thai-side access on his Facebook page, saying only that the border committee talks focused on military cooperation and maintaining peace along the border, fighting terrorism and piracy and natural disaster preparations.


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