Saturday, 5 February 2011

Cambodia, Thailand military commanders meet to find way to end clashes

via CAAI

UDOR MEANCHEY, Cambodia, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian and Thai military commanders on Saturday began here negotiations at 10:40 a.m. over the military clashes took place twice at the border area near the 11th century temple on Friday afternoon and Saturday early morning.

The negotiation was held between Cambodian Commander of Military Division 3, Major General Srey Doek and Thai Major - General Chawalit Chunprasan, commander of Thai military region 2, in a restaurant at Chorm Sra Ngam border checkpoint in Anglong Veng district of Udor Meanchey province, in a bit to find ways to prevent future military conflicts.

The meeting was held after deadly military clashes twice on Friday afternoon and on Saturday early morning at the border near Preah Vihear Temple.

During the skirmishes, troops from both sides had exchanged fire of heavy weapons including rockets, machine guns, mortars and artillery.

Chan Sovanchay, a military official stationed at Preah Vihear Temple told Xinhua by telephone on Saturday that during the clash on Friday afternoon, two Cambodians were killed (one soldier and one tourist), and 22 were wounded, and the clash on Saturday morning caused five Cambodian troops seriously injured by Thai troops'shrapnel.

"The one hour clash in Saturday morning happened due to Thai troops invaded into Cambodian territory to carry the corpses of their Thai soldiers killed in Cambodian territory on Friday afternoon's clash," he said.

However, he added that he did not know how many Thai troops were killed in the two clashes, "I just saw that several corpses of Thai troops had been carried out of Cambodian territory by their fellow soldiers."

According to the statement issued by the Cambodia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in late Friday, "the aggression by Thai armed forces on Feb. 4 was also followed by firing of many 130 mm and 155 mm artillery shells which reached as far as 20 kilometers inside Cambodian territory."

"The attack caused many seriously damages to the temple of Preah Vihear, a world heritage, as well as death and injury of more than ten Cambodian troops and villagers," said the statement.

It added that "facing this flagrant aggression, Cambodian troops had no option, but to retaliate in self defense and in order to safeguard Cambodia's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

Both sides have been blaming the other of launching the fire first.

The border between Thailand and Cambodia has never been completely demarcated and the issue of Preah Vihear temple has been an age-old dispute. Although the Internal Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the temple itself belonged to Cambodia, the row over land plot of 4.6 square kilometers around the temple has never been resolved. And the two sides have clashed over the border in the past with several deaths on both sides since 2008.

Editor: Lu Hui

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