Radio Free Asia
By Sav Yuth
14th March, 2009
Reported in English by Khmerization
A group of 10 Thai soldiers who were camped at Wat Keo Sekha Kirisvarak pagoda have forbidden Khmer monks from constructing a residence building in the temple compound because they said that the area is a disputed zone.
A Thai soldier named Charso said on Friday that the Thais are not happy that the Khmer monks are constructing their residence building in a disputed zone and they have asked the monks to suspend the construction, waiting for the Khmer and Thai governments to resolve the border issues first.
The Khmer monks and temple committee members said that the Thai soldiers had already stopped them from constructing a toilet once before, but they still keep building. Now the Thai soldiers asked them not to construct their residence building by saying that if the monks do not stop the construction, they will bring the Thai monks to reside in that building.
The temple priest, Achar Sva, said the Khmers will not stop constructing the building because it is located inside Khmer territory. He said: "We will continue to build it. We won't stop because it is our Khmer temple."
Gen. Srey Doek, commander for the Preah Vihear region, said that he will raise this particular issue when he meets his Thai conterpart on 17th March.
In relation to the construction of the temple building, Gen. Srey Doek said: "The prohibition to construct that temple building is linked to the 2000 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which we will discuss on 17th (March). If they accused us of violating that MoU, did Thais ever respected it? But if they think that we violate that MoU, then we must resolve it with each other."
Thailand had sent hundreds of troops to invade Wat Keo Sekha Kirisvarak pagoda on 15th July, 2oo8, after Preah Vihear temple was inscribed by Unesco on 7th July of that year, which Thailand opposed.