Sunday, 19 October 2008

Border dispute talks postponed

Straits Times
Oct 19, 2008

BANGKOK - THAI and Cambodian military officials have postponed planned talks aimed at calming a border dispute which recently escalated into a deadly shoot-out, a Thai army spokesman said on Sunday.

Senior army representatives had been due to meet on Tuesday in the Cambodian town of Siem Reap, but negotiations have been put off until later in the week.

'The regional border meeting scheduled on October 21 was postponed as the two countries are not yet ready,' said Colonel Taweesak Boonrakchart, spokesman for Thailand's northeastern army division.

'On the Thai side, we have to get approval from parliament before the government can any sign pacts.'

The talks would now be held on Thursday or Friday, still in Siem Reap, Col Taweesak told AFP.

Two Cambodian soldiers were killed and seven Thai troops injured on Wednesday when a firefight erupted between soldiers stationed on disputed land near Cambodia's ancient Preah Vihear temple.

Emergency talks the day after ended with both Cambodian and Thai officials agreeing to joint border patrols - which have not started yet - but offered no lasting solution to the military stand-off along the border.

Tensions between the neighbours flared in July when Preah Vihear was awarded United Nations World Heritage status, rekindling long-simmering tensions over ownership of land surrounding the ancient temple. -- AFP

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