Thursday, 17 February 2011

Thai-Cambodian Troops Clash Continue

via CAAI

BANGKOK, Feb 16 (Bernama) -- The Thai-Cambodian troop clashes at the border continued into the second day Wednesday, frustrating the aspirations of the Security Council for a permanent ceasefire.

Army spokesman Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd said Wednesday, the Thai base at Phu Ma Khua in Si Sa Ket province, near the disputed border area, was under attack by Cambodian troops about 2am.

"They used mortars and rocket-propelled-grenades, forcing the Thai troops to retaliate," he said.

He said they attacked again the same base using hand grenades at 3.50am and the clashes ended about 5.30am, adding that no casualties were reported in both clashes.

The Cambodian troops have been attacking the base since Tuesday with three clashes reported at 5am, 8pm and 10pm, leaving a Thai soldier seriously wounded.

The United Nations Security Council meeting in New York on Monday, attended by foreign ministers from both countries, urged the two parties to establish a permanent ceasefire and resolve the situation through dialogue.

The four-day clashes at the disputed border area ended on Feb 7, when both sides agreed to a ceasefire after the loss of 10 lives from both sides.

The border dispute involved both nations claiming an area of 4.6sq km surrounding the 1,000-year-old Preah Vihear Hindu Temple as the area has yet to be demarcated, including access route to the temple.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the temple was located in Cambodia and it was listed as a world heritage site by Unesco in 2008.

Prior to this year's clashes, three clashes were reported - July 15, 2008, October 2008 and April 3, 2009 - since the inscription of the temple on the world heritage list.

Bangkok had wanted Unesco to reconsider the listing, citing it as the source of tension at the border as the area had yet to be demarcated.

Phnom Penh, on the other hand, claimed that Bangkok's claim of the area was based on unilaterally drawn map and had committed armed aggression.

Both nations inked a memorandum of understanding on the Survey and Demarcation of Land Boundary in 2000, long before the listing took place.

The Thai-Cambodia Joint Border Committee (JBC) could not move its survey and demarcation task forward for areas adjacent to the temple since its last meeting in Phnom Penh in April 2009, because the Thai Parliament was still considering the minutes of the (JBC) meetings.

During the seven-day ceasefire recently, both nations built up their forces near the border with additional troops and heavy weapons.

Bangkok dispatched an additional 20,000 troops and dozens of tanks to the border while news reports from Phnom Penh also indicated the mobilisation of a similar size of additional troops.

Hope for a permanent ceasefire still exists as the Asean foreign ministers meet in Jakarta next Tuesday to discuss the latest development affecting their two members Thailand and Cambodia.

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