WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday urged Thailand and Cambodia to exercise restraint and take immediate steps to defuse tensions after their deadliest border clashes in several years.
Clinton said that the United States had engaged directly with Thai and Cambodian officials in hopes of ending the violence, which has killed 12 soldiers and caused tens of thousands of villagers to flee.
"The United States remains deeply concerned about clashes between security forces along the Thailand-Cambodia border," Clinton said in a statement.
"We strongly urge both sides to exercise restraint, refrain from provocative acts and immediately take all necessary steps to reduce tensions and avoid further conflict," she said.
"The loss of life, displacement of civilians and damage to property is regrettable," she said.
Clinton welcomed mediation by Indonesia, whose Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa had been due in both countries Monday but postponed his visit.
"We support the efforts of Indonesia in their role as chair of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to work with both countries to reach a resolution," she said.
The clashes erupted Friday near two groups of contested temples -- named Ta Kwai and Ta Muen in Thai or Ta Krabei and Ta Moan in Khmer.
The violence is the worst since the border dispute flared up almost three years ago and shattered a ceasefire that had held since February when the UN Security Council called for a permanent truce.