Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Tensions rise anew on Cambodia, Thai border

via CAAI

PHNOM PENH, March 8 (AP) - (Kyodo)—Tensions are again rising on the Cambodian-Thai border near the ancient Preah Vihear Temple as Thai troops began to move heavy construction vehicles into the area and asked five Thai soldiers deployed with five Cambodians in a buffer zone to pull back, a government official told Kyodo News on Tuesday.

Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said the Thai soldiers moved back to the established Thai zone earlier in the day.

"It is a provocative act," Phay Siphan charged.

A military commanders based near the temple, who asked not to be named, said the area across from the temple is low-lying and crossed by a stream.

"Tanks and armored personnel vehicles cannot access this area because of the small stream, therefore, the Thai troops might want to make it ready for quick access," he suggested.

Indonesia pledged Feb. 22 to dispatch unarmed military observers to Cambodia and Thailand to monitor a cease-fire along the disputed border and the Cambodian source suggested the Thai moves Tuesday may be to consolidate ground before the Indonesians arrive.

Cambodia and Thailand have been at loggerheads since 2008 over 4.6 square kilometers of land along the border near the Cambodian temple.

Since then, several armed clashes have erupted.

In the most recent from Feb. 4 to 7, at least 10 people died, dozens were wounded and more than 25,000 people were displaced.

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