Monday, 21 February 2011

Military attaches see border damage

via CAAI

Published: 21/02/2011

The military attaches of 14 countries were taken on tour today to see the damage caused on the Thai side of the border by Cambodian shelling during the fighting between the two countries on Feb 4-7.

Photos by Sermpong Thongsamrit

Lt-Gen Sirichai Dithakul, the army depty chief-of-staff, led the military attaches to Phum Srol village in Si Sa Ket's Kantharalak district, which was worst hit by the cross-border fire.

One villager was killed and others wounded.

One building of Phum Srol School was hit by three BM-21 rockets, causing heavy damage and forcing the school to close. It reopened on Feb 14 and makeshift classrooms have been built to accommodate the students.

The attaches taking part in the border visit were from the United States, France, China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines. The Cambodian military attache was not in the group.

At Phum Srol, the attaches were received by Lt-Gen Tawatchai Samutsakhon, the 2nd Army commander and a situation briefing was given at nearby Mo E-daeng cliff.

"Thai soldiers want the conflict to be solved through negotiation and peaceful means. We don't want to invade any country, but only to protect our sovereignty," Lt-Gen Sirichai told the military attaches.

A military source Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya had asked Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon to invite the military attaches to visit the border.

Gen Dapong Rattanasuwan, the army chief-of-staff, will accompany Mr Kasit to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' meeting of foreign ministers in Jakarta tomorrow, Feb 22.

On Saturday, Gen Dapong led a team to ceasefire talks with Maj-Gen Hun Manet, the deputy army chief of Cambodia, and an eight-point agreement was reached.

Lt-Gen Tawatchai, the 2nd Army chief, affirmed that no agreement was signed by the two sides.

"It was a gentleman's agreement between soldiers. There was no signing of anything," he said.

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