Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Anupong plays down clash with Cambodian soldiers

via CAAI News Media
Published: 26/01/2010 at 12:00 AM

Army commander Anupong Paojinda is playing down Sunday's clash with Cambodian forces along the border near the Preah Vihear National Park.

Gen Anupong yesterday said 2nd Army commander Weewalit Chornsamrit had held talks with Cambodia's 3rd supportive division commander, Lt Gen Sarai Duek, to clear the air.

There were no problems and both sides now understood each other's position, Gen Anupong said.

But a military source along the border said there were concerns that troops from the two countries might find it difficult staying in such close proximity to each other.

Cambodian soldiers were unhappy with the Thais, who they blame for causing their unit commanders to face disciplinary action.

Two Cambodian soldiers were captured trespassing on Thai soil two weeks ago and sent back to their units. Their commanders were disciplined as a result and transferred away from the border, the source said.

The new commanders might not be familiar with the situation along the border and wooden fences had to be erected to prevent Thai patrols, he said.

Talks were being held on the problem when the firefight erupted on Sunday.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday said he did not believe the border spat would escalate.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said he had instructed military leaders in the disputed area to try to solve the problem as quickly as possible.

Mr Suthep denied suspicions that this latest spat could be linked to ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who plans to return to Cambodia again soon to meet his Puea Thai Party supporters.

Meanwhile, Ruangkrai Leekitwattana, an appointed senator, yesterday submitted a petition to the Election Commission asking it to determine whether Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya had violated the constitution.

The senator asked the commission to check whether Mr Kasit had violated sections 268 and 266 (1) which forbid MPs, senators, the prime minister and ministers from intervening or interfering in the operations of state agencies for personal or partisan gain.

The request follows the leak of classified Foreign Ministry documents supposedly crafted by Mr Kasit for Mr Abhisit on how to deal with Thaksin for damaging Thai-Cambodian relations.

The papers also suggest the speeding up of legal cases against Thaksin.

Mr Ruangkrai said the recommendations for the premier to speed the trials of Thaksin might be seen as intervening in the work of judicial officials.

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