Cambodia, Thai troops to pull back from temple at weekend: general

August 14, 2008 at 9:21 am 1 comment

August 14, 2008

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Cambodia and Thailand have agreed to sharply reduce their troop numbers around a disputed temple before a new round of border talks opens Monday, a top general said.

The agreement was reached Wednesday during a meeting of military officials from the two countries, Cambodian General Neang Phat, a top official at the defence ministry, told reporters.

Thai military officials confirmed the deal, but neither country would reveal exactly how many troops would be withdrawn from the area around the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple.

“Both sides agreed to redeploy the troops, who are stationed in the pagoda (near the temple), to the lowest possible number in order to avoid confrontation with each other,” Neang Phat told reporters Thursday.

More than 1,000 troops from both countries are stationed around the ruins of the ancient Khmer temple. Cambodia and Thailand agreed last month to withdraw their forces from a small patch of disputed territory near the temples.

Foreign ministers from both countries are set to meet Monday and Tuesday to hammer out details on the deal.

“The redeployment of the troops that we have agreed to will finish before the ministerial meeting on August 18,” Neang Phat said.

Neang Phat said the remaining troops would be allowed to carry only simple rifles and guns. Their future positions would be determined after the ministerial meeting next week, he added.

The border dispute erupted July 15, after three Thai nationalist protesters were arrested for trying to illegally cross into Cambodia to reach the temple.

Thai nationalists were incensed that Cambodia last month won world heritage status from the United Nations for the ruins, which Thailand has long claimed despite a World Court ruling giving the ruins to Cambodia.


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

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. khmerbird  |  August 14, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    ីi hope this time Thai will follow what they have agreed,


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