Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cambodian leader Hun Sen wants World Court to settle border dispute with Thailand

O SVAY, Cambodia (AP) - Cambodia will complain to the World Court that Thailand is occupying its land, the prime minister said Tuesday while visiting the territory at the heart of a bitter border dispute.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said Thailand has encroached on land around the landmark Preah Vihear temple, in northern Cambodia, which the court awarded Phnom Penh in 1962.

Thailand acknowledges Cambodian sovereignty over the temple, but both claim 1.8 square miles (4.6 square kilometers) of nearby land. The countries' troops have clashed there several times.

"Cambodia has reached the limits of its patience," Hun Sen said in a speech Tuesday. He said he also would ask the United Nations to help solve the border issue.

Nationalist passions have run high at the border since 2008, after Thailand first backed, then opposed Cambodia's bid to name the 11th-century temple a U.N. World Heritage site.

Cambodia and Thailand share a 500-mile (800-kilometer) land border, part of which has never been clearly demarcated because each country relies on different maps.

Cambodian-Thai relations worsened late last year when Cambodia named former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra an adviser on economic affairs.

A Thai court in 2008 sentenced Thaksin in absentia to two years imprisonment for corruption, but Cambodia rejected a formal request for his extradition.

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