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Security Council Report: Update Report No. 1 Thailand/Cambodia

February 9, 2011


This Security Council Report update details the continuing clash between the Thai and Cambodian militaries.

Council members are taking seriously the clashes between the Thai and Cambodian military in the vicinity of the Preah Vihear temple complex on the Thailand-Cambodia border. Unlike past Council responses to similar events on the Thai-Cambodian border, this time Council members have not been deterred from taking up the issue.

The Council has requested the Secretariat to brief on 14 February and will invite Thailand and Cambodia to participate in the meeting. The current chair of ASEAN, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, will also be invited to participate. The format of the meeting will be decided following consultations between the president of the Council and the delegations of Thailand and Cambodia.

There is a long-running border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia over territory in the vicinity of Preah Vihear, a temple complex dating from the 11th century. The site sits atop a ridge on the Thai-Cambodia border overlooking the plain of Cambodia in the north-west.

In 1959 the dispute was referred to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). In 1962 the ICJ ruled (in a 9-3 decision) that the area in the vicinity of Preah Vihear was part of Cambodian territory, based upon maps that had been prepared in 1907 by a joint border commission established by Siam and the French colonial authorities in Cambodia. While the ICJ ruling meant the temple complex was in Cambodian territory, the geography of the area determines that the most easily accessible entrance to the complex is in Thailand. Thailand accepts Cambodia's sovereignty over Preah Vihear. However land surrounding the temple remains in dispute.

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