Cambodian FM optimistic about border talk with Thailand

August 18, 2008 at 7:01 am Leave a comment

 PHNOM PENH, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) — Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong on Monday expressed optimism about the two-day talk with his Thai counterpart to ensure total military withdrawal from the border area to end the two countries’ month-long standoff there.

“I am optimistic about the bilateral talk with the Thai side to seek peaceful resolution to withdraw the troops totally from the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara Pagoda and the surrounding areas of the Preah Vihear Temple (in the eponymous Cambodian province),” he told reporters at the airport before leaving for the meeting set in HuaHin province in Thailand.

Currently, each sides only deployed 10 military people at the pagoda and 20 within the surrounding areas of the Preah Vihear Temple, said Hor Namhong, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, adding that this was the result from the previous foreign ministers’ meeting in Siem Reap province, Cambodia, on July 28.

“We want to withdraw all the troops from the areas near the Preah Vihear Temple, clear the mines there and finally plant border demarcation posts between the two countries,” he said.

In addition, for the Tamone Toch and Tamone Thom temples in neighboring Otdar Meanchey province of Cambodia, “we will discuss step by step to withdraw the troops there and end the problem in the near future,” he added.

During the trip, the foreign minister is also expected to visit Thai King to brief him on the current situation.

On July 15, Thai troops went into the border area to fetch three trespassers who had intended to claim Thai sovereignty over the Preah Vihear Temple. The troops stationed there ever since, thus triggering the military stalemate.

The same day, Thai troops occupied the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara Pagoda, which is situated on the only way leading to the Preah Vihear Temple.

In the following days, both sides gradually increased their military personnel to a thousand strong at the border area to show their determination for territorial sovereignty.

On July 28, foreign ministers from Cambodia and Thailand held a meeting in Siem Reap province and agreed to mull the possibility of evacuating troops from the border.

On Aug. 3, Thai troops entered the Tamone Toch and Tamone Thom temples, thus aggravating the standoff.

On Aug. 16, most of the troops at the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara Pagoda and within the surrounding areas of the Preah Vihear Templewere evacuated according to both sides’ agreement.

The Preah Vihear Temple straddles the Cambodian-Thai border atop the Dangrek Mountain and was listed as a World Heritage Site on July 7 by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee.

In 1962, the International Court of Justice decided that the 11-century temple and the land around belongs to Cambodia, which rankled the Thais and has led to continuous disputes. 

Editor: An

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

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