Foreign Policy Blogs

The Thai-Cambodia Dispute Continues


UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, recently named (in early July) the Preah Vihear Temple a World Heritage Site. The temple dates back to the early 11th century AD, is dedicated to Shiva, and is located in Northern Cambodia very close to the border of Thailand. In 1962, the International Court of Justice awarded the temple and its land to Cambodia. According to the AP, a Cambodian official claimed last week that about 40 Thai troops crossed into Cambodia's territory , on account of "dispute over land" near this ancient border temple. Apparently, the dispute between the two neighboring countries worsened after UNESCO declared it a world heritage site. Last month (June 22), Cambodia shut off access to the temple to visitors from Thailand , partly because Thailand was increasing its protests that the world heritage site status would "jeopardize their country's claims to disputed land adjacent to the site" , specifically 1.8 square miles of land near the temple. Yesterday, the Cambodian Foreign Minister said that there is "an imminent state of war" and a request has been made to the UN Security Council. News reports are saying that more than 4,000 troops have been deployed around the temple since July 15. Foreign ministers of the ASEAN countries are meeting in Singapore this week, and according to the AP article, "Thai-Cambodia Dispute Moves to ASEAN," the two sides only agreed that their troops would not fire on each other but the military standoff has not actually been resolved. Cambodia will hold a general election on July 27.

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pictures from the UNESCO website/Alison Clayson 



Karin Esposito

Karin Esposito is blogging on religion and politics from her base in Central Asia. Currently, she is the Project Manager for the Tajikistan Dialogue Project in Dushanbe. The Project is run through the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies with the support of PDIV of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. The aim of the project is to establish practical mechanisms for co-existence and peaceful conflict resolution between Islamic and secular representatives in Tajikistan. After receiving a Juris Doctorate from Boston University School of Law in 2007, she worked in Tajikistan for the Bureau of Human Rights and later as a Visting Professor of Politics and Law at the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics, and Strategic Research (KIMEP). Ms. Esposito also holds a Master's in Contemporary Iranian Politics (2007) from the School of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Iran and a Master's in International Relations (2003) from the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (GIIDS) in Switzerland.

Areas of Focus:
Islam; Christianity; Secularism;