Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Cambodia to ask UN to help secure ceasefire

A Cambodian nurse cleans up a wounded soldierlast week after fighting between Cambodian and Thai troops in a border dispute. Cambodia will ask the UN Security Council to help secure a "permanent ceasefire" with Thailand as both countries prepare to brief the world body on about the deadly dispute. (AFP/File/Tang Chhin Sothy)  

via CAAI

PHNOM PENH (AFP) – Cambodia said it will ask the UN Security Council to help secure a "permanent ceasefire" with Thailand as both countries prepare to brief the world body on Monday about a deadly border dispute.

The Security Council is set to hold a closed-door meeting in New York with the foreign ministers of Cambodia and Thailand to discuss four days of fighting near an 11th-century temple that left at least 10 people dead earlier this month, according to a new toll.

Both sides blame each other for starting the violence around Preah Vihear temple that displaced thousands of families and that Cambodia's outspoken government has labelled a "war" but Thailand has played down as clashes.

Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong "will raise the issue of the invading war by Thailand against Cambodia," his spokesman Koy Kuong told AFP ahead of the meeting.

The country's top diplomat "will also ask the United Nations to help secure a permanent ceasefire" between the two nations, he added.

The ancient temple has been a source of contention between Thailand and Cambodia since it was granted UN World Heritage status in July 2008.

The World Court ruled in 1962 that the clifftop structure belonged to Cambodia but both countries claim ownership of a 4.6-square-kilometre (1.8-square-mile) surrounding area.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has called for a UN buffer force to be put in place in the disputed area, while Thailand has repeatedly said the row should settled between the two countries.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Sunday his government would tell the UN there was no need for outside mediation.

He has also blamed the UN World Heritage Committee for causing the dispute by listing the temple as a World Heritage site.

He said the clashes occurred because Cambodia wanted the area around Preah Vihear to be cleared of Thai troops so it could submit its plan for managing the temple to UNESCO.

"I think today the World Heritage committee is fully aware of the problem they have created so they should play role in tackling the problem," Abhisit said last week in remarks dismissed by Cambodia.

"The war was not caused by the listing of the temple, but by Thailand's invasion of Cambodian territory," said Koy Kuong. "They want not only the territory, but also the temple."

The Cambodian government said at the weekend the unrest had left seven Cambodians dead, including two civilians, updating an earlier toll.

Thailand has reported three fatalities, including one civilian.

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