Washington Sunday, 06 February 2011
Cambodian soldiers carry their weapons near Preah Vihear temple along the border with Thailand February 6, 2011. Thai and Cambodian soldiers exchanged fire on a disputed stretch of their border on Sunday, witnesses said, the third flare-up in three days in an ancient feud over territory surrounding a 900-year-old Hindu temple.
The Cambodian government says part of an 11th-century Hindu temple has been damaged by cross-border artillery fire from the Thai army.
A statement released by the Phnom Penh government and quoted by the French news agency says a wing of the Preah Vihear temple — a United Nations World Heritage site — collapsed Sunday “as a direct result of a Thai artillery bombardment.” There was no immediate response to the statement from Thai officials.
New clashes between Thai and Cambodian troops erupted Sunday near the disputed temple, ending a brief cease-fire agreed to after fighting last week left at least five people dead. The temple, which straddles the Thai-Cambodian border, belongs to Cambodia under a 1962 World Court ruling disputed by many Thais.
There were no immediate reports of casualties in the fighting Sunday, which came just hours after Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva called for a peaceful solution to the dispute. Saturday, about 2,000 members of Thailand's People's Alliance for Democracy party gathered in Bangkok to demand the prime minister adopt a tougher stance.
In Cambodia Sunday evening, Prime Minister Hun Sen sent an urget letter to the UN Security Counsel requesting a meeting on the border fighting. The letter is an addition to Foreign Minister Hor Namhong's letter on Saturday in which complained to the United Nations about what he described as “flagrant aggression” by Thai troops.
The 1962 World Court ruling awarded the temple to Cambodia, although its main entrance lies inside Thailand. The ruling did not settle ownership