Saturday, 25 October 2008

Party leader welcomes Cambodia’s CPP delegation

25/10/2008

VietNamNet Bridge – Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh received a delegation from the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) in Hanoi on Oct. 24, led by its Central Committee’s permanent head Sai Chhum.

The delegation is making an official visit to Vietnam from Oct. 23-27 as guests of the Communist Party of Vietnam’s (CPV) Central Committee.

Sai Chhum conveyed best regards from the leaders of the CPP, the National Assembly and the Royal Government of Cambodia to General Secretary Manh and other Vietnamese Party and State leaders.

He heaped praise on the outstanding achievements of the Vietnamese people in their renewal process.

He said that the CPP and the Cambodian people will forever bear in their minds the valuable assistance of the Vietnamese Party, State and people to the Cambodian people in their struggle for national liberation and escape from genocide in the past, as well as their current commitment to the causes of peace, national reconciliation and national development.

The CPP and Cambodian people pledged to do their utmost to continually develop the fine traditions of neighbourliness, friendship and sustainable comprehensive cooperation between the two parties and the people of Cambodia and Vietnam, he said.

General Secretary Manh welcomed the CPP officials, saying that he considers their visit a manifestation of the traditional friendship, unity and cooperation between the parties and people of both nations.

He appreciated the outcomes of discussions between the two parties and their cooperation agreements for 2009-2010, and congratulated the CPP and the Cambodian people on their important achievements in a variety of areas over the recent past, particularly the CPP’s success in the National Assembly elections. He considered these achievements as an important factor in maintaining peace, stability and development not only in Cambodia, but regionally and globally.

The Party General Secretary asked the delegation to convey his best wishes to the CPP and Cambodian State leaders. He expressed his pleasure at the positive development of the two countries’ neighbourly relationship.

He thanked the CPP and the Cambodian people for their assistance to Vietnam and reiterated Vietnam ’s ongoing policy attaching great importance to preserving and promoting the traditional unity, friendship and comprehensive cooperation with Cambodia.

Earlier that day, a CPV delegation, led by Truong Tan Sang, politburo member and permanent member of the Secretariat of the Party Central Committee, held talks with the CPP delegation.

The two sides exchanged views on orientation and the adoption of measures to further promote cooperation between the two parties and countries, as well as a number of international and regional matters of common concern.

They were unanimous in the signing of an agreement regarding the two parties’ cooperation during 2009-2010.

During the course of their visit, the CPP delegation plans to visit a number of economic establishments, as well as a range of cultural and historical sites in Hanoi, the northern province of Phu Tho and Ho Chi Minh City.

(Source: VNA)

Thai-Cambodia dispute: Asean offers help

Yasmin Lee Arpon/ANN

BEIJING, Oct. 24: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is ready to step in on the border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia, even as the leaders of the two warring countries said today that they have put the recent clashes behind them.

"Asean is ready to help but the concerned parties said they will exhaust all resources first," Asean secretary general Mr Surin Pitsuwan said in an exclusive briefing today in Beijing. Thai PM Mr Somchai Wongsawat and Cambodian PM Mr Hun Sen met at the sidelines of the two-day Asia-Europe meeting attended by 45 leaders from the two continents and said they were confident that both sides will resolve the dispute soon. The two leaders said the border clashes this month that killed three Cambodian soldiers and wounded a Thai soldier are behind them. "We are not just neighbours, we are very good friends indeed," Thai foreign minister Mr Sompong Amornvivat said after the meeting. "His Excellency Hun Sen said the incident that already happened is not the kind that both countries want. It happened instantly. That was uncontrollable at the time. But when things come to this point, the two sides have to advise our troops not to have confrontation any longer," Mr Sompong said.

The two sides vowed to resort to "all existing mechanisms to solve the problem on the border". At the root of the dispute is the Preah Vihear temple, which the International Court of Justice awarded to Cambodia in 1962, which Thailand has resented

RP booters beat Cambodia in Suzuki Cup

GMA News TV

10/25/2008

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines beat Cambodia, 3-2, Thursday night in the qualifiers of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup 2008 but will have to wait if they advance to the tournament proper on December.

Chad Gould knocked in the go-ahead goal in the 53rd minute in front of a jampacked crowd at the National Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

“It was a very difficult game for us where we struggled in the second half. The last 25 minutes was extremely difficult," said RP coach Juan Cutillas in the AFF website. “I believe that we did the right tactic on the day and that we deserve to win even though Cambodia dominated for much of the game."

Sam El Nasa broke the ice in the 14th minute for Cambodia but Ali Borromeo tied it up in the 19th minute. The Filipinos took the lead on a goal by Chris Greatwich in the 36th minute only to allow a tying goal before halftime by El Nasa, his second in the game, in the 44th minute.

But Gould, a substitute for Ian Araneta, delivered the game-winning goal as the Filipinos stave off a fighting Cambodia side in the second half.

The Filipino booters finished the qualifiers with seven points after recording two wins, a draw and a loss. Despite the win, the Philippines is not yet assured of one of the two slots in the main draw slated on December.

Laos is currently in second with six points with two wins and a loss with a game to go while Brunei and Cambodia both had four points but Brunei is in third due to a superior goal difference. Timor Leste is in the rear with only a point owning a one draw, two loss slate.

The Filipinos hope that Cambodia and Brunei settle for a draw to qualify and enter the tournament proper on Saturday. A Laos win over Timor Leste and a win by both Cambodia and Brunei, however, will eliminate the Philippines from the tournament proper.

– GMANews.TV

Vietnam-Cambodia Border Landmark Planting Scheme Moves Ahead

PHNOM PENH, Oct 25(Bernama) -- The chairmen of the Vietnam-Cambodia Joint Committee for Land Border Demarcation and Landmark Planting, met in Phnom Penh between on Wednesday and Thursday, Vietnam news agency (VNA) reported.

The Vietnamese delegation to the meeting was headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Ho Xuan Son, co-chairman of the Vietnam-Cambodia joint border committee; and the Cambodian delegation was headed by Senior Minister Var Kim Hong, co-chairman of the Vietnam-Cambodia border committee.

The two sides reviewed the implementation of border demarcation and landmark planting in 2008, and heaped praise on the efforts of the two countries' relevant ministries, agencies and localities in the work.

In an atmosphere of unity, friendship and mutual understanding, the two sides had a frank exchange of views and agreed upon measures to resolve any problems in order to fulfill the 2008 border demarcation and landmark planting plan.

They pledged to strictly implement the 1985 Agreement on Border Demarcation and the 2005 Supplementary Agreement, determining to complete border demarcation and landmark planting along the Vietnam-Cambodia border in 2012 as agreed between the two governments, contributing to creating a border of peace, friendship, cooperation and development for the benefit of both sides as well as for peace, stability and development in the region.

The two chairmen of the joint committee signed the common minutes on agreements the two sides reached at the meetings and approved the results of a series of meetings of the committee's technical sub-committee and experts' groups held earlier between Oct 15-22.

On Oct 23, Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers of the Royal Government of Cambodia, received Deputy FM Son and other members of the Vietnamese delegation.

-- BERNAMA
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (C) speaks at the start of a breakfast with Asian country leaders at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing October 24, 2008. Dozens of Asian and European leaders, representing half the global economy, have gathered in Beijing this week at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) starting Friday. The 27 EU member states and the European Commission will trade views with Japan, China, India and 13 other Asian countries on the global downturn, climate change and international security.REUTERS/POOL/David Gray (CHINA)

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) shakes hands with Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen before their meeting in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing October 24, 2008. Dozens of Asian and European leaders, representing half the global economy, have gathered in Beijing this week at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) starting Friday. The 27 EU member states and the European Commission will trade views with Japan, China, India and 13 other Asian countries on the global downturn, climate change and international security.REUTERS/POOL/David Gray (CHINA)

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) shakes hands with Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer before their meeting in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing October 24, 2008. Dozens of Asian and European leaders, representing half the global economy, have gathered in Beijing this week at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) starting Friday. The 27 EU member states and the European Commission will trade views with Japan, China, India and 13 other Asian countries on the global downturn, climate change and international security.REUTERS/David Gray (CHINA)

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Taro Aso before a breakfast with Asian country leaders at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing October 24, 2008. Dozens of Asian and European leaders, representing half the global economy, have gathered in Beijing this week at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) starting Friday. The 27 EU member states and the European Commission will trade views with Japan, China, India and 13 other Asian countries on the global downturn, climate change and international security.REUTERS/David Gray (CHINA)

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) shakes hands with Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo before a breakfast with Asian country leaders at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing October 24, 2008. Dozens of Asian and European leaders, representing half the global economy, have gathered in Beijing this week at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) starting Friday. The 27 EU member states and the European Commission will trade views with Japan, China, India and 13 other Asian countries on the global downturn, climate change and international security.REUTERS/David Gray (CHINA)

Thai, Cambodian armies agree to ease border tensions

M&C Asia-Pacific News
Oct 24, 2008

Bangkok - Army officers representing Thailand and Cambodia on Friday agreed to ease border tensions around the 11th century Preah Vihear temple, the site of a clash that claimed three lives earlier this month, state news reports said.

The tentative agreement between the two militaries was reached at the Thai-Cambodian Regional Border Committee (RBC) meeting held in the Cambodian northwestern province of Siem Reap, reported the Thai News Agency (TNA). Sponsored Links:

Led by Thailand's Second Army Region commander Lieutenant General Wiboonsak Neepal and his Cambodian counterpart Fourth Army commander Lieutenant General Chea Mon, the two sides agreed to ease tensions 'to create peace and stability for people of the two countries living along the border,' said the TNA.

The negotiations, however, did not cover reducing the number of troops or reducing or eliminating heavy weapons at the border.

On October 15 Thai and Cambodian troops briefly clashed in a disputed zone near the Preah Vihear temple, leaving two Cambodians dead and several Thais wounded, one of whom died of his injuries in hospital.

The shootout occurred about 3 kilometres away from Phreah Vihear, an 11th century Hindu temple that has been the cause of many border disputes between the two neighbouring countries for almost five decades. Sponsored Links:

A similar skirmish occurred at the same site on October 3 that left two Thai soldiers and one Cambodian wounded. Thailand issued an official protest to the Cambodian government over the alleged border incursion.

Thailand and Cambodia nearly came to blows over the Preah Vihear temple in July, shortly after UNESCO named the ancient Hindu temple a World Heritage Site despite Thai objections.

The temple, the object of disputed claims between Thailand and Cambodia since the 1950s, was granted to Cambodia by a ruling of the International Court of Justice in 1962.

But land adjacent to the temple compound, including its main entrance on the Thai side, has been claimed by both countries. Sponsored Links:

Both sides beefed up their forces in the area, situated about 400 kilometres north-east of Bangkok, after some ultra-nationalist Thais crossed into the disputed zone in a protest against the UNESCO ruling.

The border conflict was calmed in August when both sides agreed to settle the matter through bilateral talks held by a joint border committee.

The talks were hampered by repeated claims of incursions into Cambodian territory and by Thailand's chaotic domestic political situation.

Trade, tourism return to normal on Thai-Cambodian border

SA KAEO, Oct 24 (TNA) — Cross-border businesses between this eastern Thai border province and Cambodia gradually returned to normal after the Thai and Cambodian military clash at a disputed zone near the ancient Khmer Preah Vihear temple caused fear for their personal safety among both traders and shoppers, a Thai immigration official said here Friday.

Pol.Lt-Col. Jeerachart Romsaiyood, a Thai government immigration inspector at the Aranyaprathet border check point, said the bilateral border trade and tourism business between Sa Kaeo's Aranyaprathet district and Cambodia's neighbouring Siem Riep province had returned to normal after the economic slowdown due to the firefight in the Northeastern province of Si Sa Ket.

As people of the two countries regained their confidence that the border situation would be settled soon, the atmosphere at Aranyaprathet's Rong Klua Market on Friday was quite vibrant.

Thousands of Cambodian traders resumed their businesses at Rong Klua Market while Thai tourist groups again travelled to Cambodia's UNESCO World Heritage Site, the national landmark temples of Angkor.

The trips to visit ancient Angkor Wat and its adjourning historical districts in November for Loy Krathong festival were fully booked, with more than one hundred groups currently on tourism agency books.

However, the Thai police chief inspector at Klong Leuk police station said security measures were still tight in the Klong Leuk area of Aranyaprathet district to ensure the safety as the market was fully opened and shoppers were crowding the market. (TNA)

Thailand and Cambodia vow peace

The dispute has stirred intense nationalist passions on both sides

BBC News
Friday, 24 October 2008

Thailand and Cambodia have agreed to resolve a border dispute peacefully "for the sake of our neighbourliness".

Bilateral talks on the issue were held on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe summit (Asem) in Beijing.

The demarcation of land around Preah Vihear temple on the countries' border has never been clearly settled.

Tensions have recently been rekindled, and last week erupted into open combat. Three Cambodian and one Thai soldier died in exchanges of fire.

'Uncontrollable'

Foreign ministers from the two countries spoke to reporters after the Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Thai counterpart, Somchai Wongsawat, held talks earlier on Friday.

"We are not just neighbours, we are very good friends indeed," Thai Foreign Minister Sompong Amornwiwat said.

"His Excellency Hun Sen said the incident that already happened is not the kind that both countries want. It happened instantly. That was uncontrollable at the time."

Mr Sompong added that the two sides had been advised to avoid confrontation.

Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said: "What happened between us we have to solve peacefully, amicably, for the sake of our neighbourliness."

The military stand-off began in July when Cambodian troops detained three Thai protesters who had entered the site illegally.

The dispute centres on 1.8 square miles (4.6 sq km) of scrub near the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple.

An international court awarded the temple to Cambodia in 1962, but land surrounding it remains the subject of rival territorial claims.

'No quick resolution'

Meanwhile, senior military officials echoed the pledge to reduce tensions as they met in Siem Reap in northern Cambodia.

Both are sides are "committed to exercising their utmost restraint to avoid confrontation or armed clashes", said Cambodian regional army commander Maj Gen Chea Mon, according to AP news agency.

The two sides had agreed to joint border patrols to defuse tensions, but according to AFP news agency these have not materialised.

The BBC's Guy De Launey, in Beijing for the Asem summit, cautions that Thailand's domestic political situation could prove a distraction - and he says Cambodia has indicated it is not expecting a swift resolution.

The issue stirs intense nationalist passions on both sides, and an army recruitment drive in border areas has been over-subscribed, he adds.

Rome Film Festival: Cambodian director presents new film

AKI - Adnkronos International

Rome, 24 Oct. (AKI) - An award-winning Cambodian movie director who was to present his latest film at the Rome Film Festival on Friday, says his country needs to cultivate young artists. Rithy Panh told Adnkronos International (AKI) that his country had suffered a great deal because of conflict and war and young people did not have enough opportunities.

Panh (photo) spoke to AKI before the first screening outside Cambodia of his movie, entitled 'Un Barrage contre le Pacifique' or 'The Sea Wall', which was adapted from a 1950's novel by French writer, Marguerite Duras.

"This country (Cambodia) is full of young people, sons of the post-genocidal years," he told AKI. "My generation suffered heavy losses, and today for example, there are few artists, writers, directors.

"So it is necessary to take care of the generation of young people between 25 and 30 years of age, otherwise we will be forced to face new and more serious problems," said Panh.

Panh's film is set in 1931 in French Indochina which is now Cambodia. The story is about a French widow and her two children, who make a living from rice fields near the ocean.

Every year, their fields are flooded with sea water and their crops are destroyed. Their only hope seems to be the construction of a sea wall. The mother battles nature and local bureaucrats to raise her two children, who have to struggle with issues of racism and financial woes.

Panh has been recognised for his previous work. His successful documentary "S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine" won the Prix Fran├žois Chalais prize at the Cannes film festival in 2003.

"The awards help in finding stability, security and to also obtain material more easily for shooting a film," said Panh.

Cambodia descended into poverty in 1975 when the oppressive communist Khmer Rouge seized power after the country had suffered from years of warfare.

The brutal regime immediately abolished the monetary system and put people to work in the fields. Over the next three years around 1.7 million people are estimated to have died from exhaustion, starvation, torture or execution.

A total of 150 films are being screened at the third annual Rome Film Festival which ends on 31 October.

Inside Story - Sarkozy's new financial world order - Oct 22

Part 1



Part 2



Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, who currently holds the rotating post of EU president, is spearheading efforts to formulate a new financial world order to prevent a reoccurence of the current global financial crisis.

Sarkozy has outlined the EU's response to the stock market vacillations and bank collapses, calling for the implementation of a global system of regulation and a ban on banks with state money working through tax havens.

Next week, Sarkozy is due to visit Beijing and is expected to call on both China and India to join in efforts to work towards resolving and preventing more financial market turmoil.

Sarkozy and Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, said they would use an Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) to urge the two fast-growing export countries to join in taking responsibility for stabilising the world economy in the wake of the credit crisis.

At this point, China and India are reluctant as they cannot see many incentives to induce them to do so.

In this edition of Inside Story Erik Berglof, the chief economist and special adviser to the president at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; Iain Begg, a professor at the European Institute, London School of Economics; and Mohan Guruswamy, the chairman and founder of the Centre for Policy Alternatives will join the presenter Sohail Rahman.

CAMBODIA Rural Vietnamese Catholics Persevere In Faith Amid Poverty

UCANEWS.com
Saturday, October 25, 2008

NEAK LOEUNG, Cambodia (UCAN) -- Catholics of Vietnamese descent in a rural parish in southern Cambodia are making every effort to preserve their faith even though they are poor, largely illiterate and face other challenges.

"We received our faith heritage from our ancestors, so we have to preserve it and pass it on to our children," says Pierre Ut The, a parishioner of Holy Family Church in Neak Loeung.

Speaking with UCA News on Oct. 19 in the church yard, the 66-year-old layman, who was born in Cambodia, recalled studying catechism with Vietnamese nuns as a child. Although he can read and write in Vietnamese, he said, his seven children and seven grandchildren are illiterate and have had little catechism.

The, one of about 1,000 Catholics of Vietnamese descent who live around the church in this village 60 kilometers southeast of Phnom Penh, makes his living by fishing. He said he prays for his family members every day, teaches them prayers and is trying to find Vietnamese prayer books for them.

Le Van Paul, the parish's only Vietnamese catechist, told UCA News the local Catholic families mostly originated in Vietnam's Dong Thap province, which borders Cambodia. They settled in Neak Loeung in the early 1980s, after Vietnamese troops forced Cambodia's brutal Khmer Rouge government from power.

Paul, 62, who was also born in Cambodia, had to flee to Vietnam in 1970, when the military government led by Lon Nol expelled all ethnic Vietnamese from the country. He returned to Cambodia with his family in 1982.

The father of nine recalled that at first local Catholics gathered at homes on Sundays to pray. Later, a Maryknoll missioner started providing pastoral care for them and they erected a thatched chapel. In 1991, they built the present church. Then in 2000, Colombian Father Omer Giraldo started to serve the parish.

According to Paul, a Khmer catechist now teaches catechism to the Vietnamese children, who understand a little Khmer, and also to 20 adult catechumens after Sunday Mass. Last July, 70 people made their First Communion.

However, many local people are not baptized because they have to move from place to place looking for work, he added. They work as carpenters and bricklayers, do fishing or run small businesses, earning the equivalent of about US$3-5 a day.

With such low earnings, it is hard for the villagers to contribute monetarily to the Church. Parish council head Pierre Ba Be said he asks for donations from benefactors in Vietnam. Through their contributions, he was able to cement the church's floor, and plant bonsai and flowers in the yard.

According to Be, 70, Mass is celebrated every Sunday morning at the church, and people who have to work at that time can attend prayers at the church on Sunday afternoon instead. The father of eight also leads daily prayers for children at the church.

Despite the people's struggle to make ends meet, Be is not worried. "If we live a good faith life," he said, "God will give us good health and enough food."

Jean Baptiste Truong Van Minh, a street barber and parish council member, elaborated on some of the challenges his people face.

Because the Vietnamese are not allowed to own land, they have to rent land from local Khmer to build their houses on, he said, adding that the rent amounts to US$20-50 a year.

The Vietnamese are not given Cambodian citizenship and their children do not have birth certificates. Many children do not speak Khmer and cannot study at state-run schools, said Minh, who has four children. The parish now has a Khmer teacher who teaches the language to 50 children.

Father Giraldo, based in Phnom Penh, told UCA News he visits the parish every weekend to celebrate Mass, hear confessions, administer sacraments and meet teachers of two kindergartens and the Catholic Study Center the parish runs.

The priest, a member of the Colombia-based Yarumal foreign mission society, explained the Church in Cambodia wants Vietnamese communities to be integrated into the national culture and its policy is to celebrate Mass in Khmer. He noted that of the country's 20,000 Catholics, about 16,000 are of Vietnamese descent.

Both Sides Vow Restraint of Border Violence

Thailand's Foreign Minister Sompong Amornwiwat, right, walks with his Cambodian counterpart, Hor Namhong, after a bilateral meeting during the Asia-Europe Meeting in Beijing.
By Reporters, VOA Khmer
Original reports from Cambodia
24 October 2008

The prime ministers of Thailand and Cambodia agreed during talks in Beijing Friday to prevent further border violence between soldiers on both sides, while military commanders in Siem Reap failed to reach an agreement on withdrawal.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said Friday the results from Beijing and Siem Reap were similar.

“Both sides agreed to avoid conflict and maintain peace,” he said, adding that he hoped the countries would move away from armed confrontation and toward more friendly talks.

Prime Minsiter Hun Sen met with his Thai counterpart, Somchai Wongsawat, Friday morning, on the sidelines of an Asia-Europe Meeting.

Both leaders agreed to avoid further conflicts in a months-long border dispute, following a flash of violence last week in three gun battles near Preah Vihear temple, leading to the death of at least three Cambodian soldiers and one Thai.

"The two sides have to advise our troops not to have confrontations any longer," Agence France-Presse quoted Thai Foreign Minister Sompong Amornviwat saying after the prime ministers spoke.

Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said both sides were “moving in a good track,” AFP reported.

In Siem Reap, commanders for Cambodia’s Military Region 4 and Thailand’s Military Region 2 met for the 11th round of Regional Border Committee talks.

“Both sides agreed to exercise utmost restraint in order to avoid confrontation or armed clashes, as have previously occurred,” the Thai Regional Border Committee said in a statement following Friday’s talks.

Neither meeting produced a substantial timetable for the withdrawal of heavily armed troops that have been deployed along the border since July.

Any negotiation on disputed border land had to meet the approval of Thailand’s parliament, which was scheduled to deliberate on the issues Oct. 28, the committee said. “Therefore, it was hoped that negotiation will take place soon.”

Thun Saray, president of Adhoc, welcomed the negotiations, but he appealed to the Thai side to respect the results of the meetings. Even though both sides have promised to avoid confrontation, Thailand continues to build up troops along the border, he said.

Opposition Names Acting Secretary-General

By Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
24 October 2008

The opposition Sam Rainsy Party has named Ke Sovannaroth, a Siem Reap parliamentarian, to replace its outgoing secretary-general, Eng Chhay Ieng.

Ke Sovannaroth said she hoped to strengthen the internal rules and leadership structure of the party "to push for internal unity and strengthen the party's work."

Eng Chhay Ieng resigned from the position after July's national election, where the Sam Rainsy Party took 26 National Assembly seats, following a spate of defections from members to the ruling Cambodian People's Party. He still holds a National Assembly seat for the opposition.

Ke Sovannaroth, who is the wife of lawmaker Yim Sovann, will be the first woman to hold the position, which manages all of the party's operations, from the top levels and grass roots.

She takes the position as the opposition prepares for provincial and municipal council elections next year.

Her priorities will be "to strengthen the party's leadership structure, promote opposition work, unite activists and supporters and democrats, and increase the confidence of the public," she said.

"She really has enough capacity and experience to lead the party to be popular and more active than before," party leader Sam Rainsy said. "She has known clearly the Sam Rainsy Party's structure and culture and has the ability to solve all the problems."

Group To Protest at The Hague Over Border

By Taing Sarada, VOA Khmer
Original report from Washington
24 October 2008

Khmer audio aired 24 October 2008 (0.98 MB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 24 October 2008 (0.98 MB) - Listen (MP3)

A group of Cambodians living in the Netherlands plans to stage a protest at The Hague in November, demanding that the International Court take action in an ongoing border dispute between Cambodia and Thailand.

Around 400 Cambodians from European countries and the US are expected to call for support of a 1962 decision by the International Court giving ownership of Preah Vihear temple and lands surrounding it to Cambodia, according to organizer Pothi Tey Svathey.

Thailand does not dispute Cambodia’s ownership of the temple, but it disputes nearby border land claimed by Cambodia.

Cambodia and Thailand have been at odds since July, when Thai soldiers entered a pagoda in one disputed area, following the inscription of nearby Preah Vihear temple as a Unesco World Heritage site. Thousands of soldiers have since massed on the border on each side, and fighting between soldiers last week left at least three Cambodians and one Thai soldier dead.

“We will bring a complaint to the Hague court about the Thai military or Thai government invasion of Cambodian territory and also the violation of the Hague court decision,” Pothi Tey Savathey said.

Thai officials maintain they have not invaded Cambodian territory and that Thai soldiers occupy Thai land.

The group will also complain to Unesco and the UN Security Council, she said, adding that she hoped the governments of Thailand and Cambodia would solve the border dispute peacefully and at the international level, Pothi Tey Savathey said.

“So what we are doing is just complain it through international law,” she said. “We really don’t want war to happen again.”

Both governments have side they remain committed to bilateral solutions.

Ir Channa, general secretary of the Cambodian Watchdog Council in Norway, said his group also urged a solution to the dispute through the International Court.

“The Hague court is our only hope that Cambodia will receive victory with pride and make sure that we don’t lost our land and our historical heritage,” he said.

Court Releases Six Accused in Land Dispute

By Kong Sothanarith, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
24 October 2008

Kampong Thom provincial court on Friday released six people in a land dispute with forestry officials, charging only three with deforestation.

Math Sareth, 44, Thach Sarin, 44, and Po Kin, 24, were released on bail, prosecutor Ty Sovanthal said.

The court charged that the three had destroyed parts of a forest in Son Touk district across 16 square kilometers, but found no evidence to charge three others.

The six were arrested earlier this week by officials of the Ministry of Agriculture’s forestry administration, after they led hundreds of families in the development of Banteay Rongeang,a village for disabled people.

Villagers admitted no wrongdoing in building their village, but say they are being removed from land after a land concession was granted to a Vietnamese company to establish a plantation.