Tentative agreements to withdraw troops and map selection

Cambodia and Thailand have made some headway into this week’s talks over the border dispute, with a resolution to reduce the troops stationed at Preah Vihear, and more significantly, agreeing on a map on which to base their negotiations on. Followers of this story may recall that one of the key issues in this border dispute is that both sides were using different maps on which to stake their claim to Preah Vihear. The agreement to use a single map is probably the most significant step in the talks thus far. One hitch still remains – these two resolutions are still resolutions, and it is reported that they must pass through the Thai parliament if they ever want to see the light of day.

Cambodia and Thailand agree on border outline plan
AFP, via Channel NewsAsia, 13 November 2008

Border talks end with tentative agreement to withdraw troops
Phnom Penh Post, 13 November 2008

Thailand and Cambodia agreed in principle on Wednesday to reduce troops and use a century-old survey map to help resolve a long-running border dispute.

The agreement between Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and his Thai counterpart Sompong Amornviwat was the result of three days of negotiations.

They said they would make a priority of delineating the border area around the 11th century Preah Vihear temple, where troops have been in a standoff since July, and will use a 1907 French colonial survey map to do so.


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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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