Thailand, Cambodia agree not to send troops to 2nd disputed temple

August 6, 2008 at 1:18 am Leave a comment

BANGKOK, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) — Thailand and Cambodia, which have exchanged new claims over a second disputed temple ruin on their mutual border, agreed Tuesday not to dispatch troops into the area in order to ease tensions along the border, the official Thai News Agency reported.

The agreement was reached following a closed-door half-an-hour talk between Maj-Gen. Kanok Netrakawesana, commander of Thailand’s Suranaree Task Force, and San Wanna, deputy governor of Cambodia’s Uddor Meanchey province, at the Task Force headquarters in Kap Choeng border district of Thailand’s Surin province.

Wanna was quoted as saying that the talks were held in a “positive atmosphere” and there would be no more problem.

The two neighbors are now locked over the Ta Muen Thom ruins, which Thailand claims sits in the Thai border district of Phanom Dong Rak in the northeastern province of Surin, and Cambodia argues is in Cambodia’s Uddor Meanchey province.

Tensions in the area heightened after Thai Supreme Commander Boonsang Niempradit on Monday asked Cambodia to withdraw its soldiers from the temple environs. However, an unknown number of Thai soldiers were also deployed in the area.

This is the second controversial temple between the two countries. In July, Cambodia and Thailand made an intense military standoff near the Preah Vihear ancient temple, which stands some 100 kilometers from the Ta Muen Thom temple. Both countries historically laid claim to the 11th century temple, which now sits on Cambodian soil following the action of the International Court of Justice which awarded the ancient temple to Cambodia in 1962.

On Monday last week, foreign ministers of the two countries agreed at a meeting in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province to redeploy their troops at Preah Vihear temple and the area surrounding it in an attempt to reduce tensions along the border, but until the Thai Cabinet met Tuesday, neither side showed any sign of making the first move.

The Thai Cabinet agreed “in principle” to reduce the presence of its military in the vicinity of the temple tension point on the border. However, a Thai government spokesman indicated no timetable or the numbers of troops to be pulled back from the frontier.

More than 1,000 troops from both countries are still at Preah Vihear.

Editor: Sun Yunlong

Entry filed under: Preah Vihear Issue. Tags: , .

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