Saturday, 13 June 2009

Thai premier to discuss border disputes during Cambodia visit

Posted : Fri, 12 Jun 2009
Author : DPA

Bangkok - Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva departed Bangkok Friday for a one-day official visit to Cambodia to discuss the neighbouring countries' border disputes that have erupted into armed confrontations twice within the last year. Abhisit, who left for Phnom Penh on a Thai Air Force plane, was scheduled to meet with his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen for talks.

Thai-Cambodian relations have been tense since last July when an armed confrontation broke out over their separate claims to an area adjacent to the 11th century Preah Vihear Hindu temple. Two Cambodian soldiers died in the brief border battle and several Thai soldiers were wounded.

The temple, which has been at the centre 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. In July last year it was granted World Heritage Site status by UNESCO despite Thai objections.

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

This April Cambodian and Thai soldiers fought another brief battle in a disputed border area around Preah Vihear, which left two Thai soldiers dead and half a dozen wounded on both sides.

The exchange of gunfire started when a team of Thai soldiers went to investigate the planting of landmines west of the temple, situated 350 kilometres northeast of Bangkok.

Several other smaller temples on the border have also fallen subject to dispute.

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