Thursday, July 24, 2008
A New Dispute Over the Temple of Preah Vihear -- UN Security Council Asked to Help Resolve New Dispute Between Cambodia and Thailand
The United Nations Security Council will convene a special session to try to avert a military confrontation over a border dispute between Cambodia and Thailand. Cambodia had appealed to the United Nations after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) declined a request to help resolve the dispute. The border conflict focuses on 1.8 square miles of land adjacent to the Preah Vihear Temple, an ancient Hindu temple which was just listed as a United Nations World Heritage Site. UNESCO granted the designation as a World Heritage Site based upon the request of Cambodia, and it used a disputed map provided by Cambodia. Hundreds of troops from each country have been engaged in a standoff over the disputed land. Sovereignty over the temple has been in dispute since France withdrew from the area in the 1950s. In 1962, the International Court of Justice awarded the temple to Cambodia over the objections of Thailand. The land in dispute was not covered in the 1962 judgment of the International Court of Justice.