Wednesday, 27 April 2011

REFILING: UPDATE2: Cambodia, Thailand agree to hold ceasefire talks+

via CAAI


Cambodia and Thailand agreed Tuesday to discuss a ceasefire as border clashes spread to the vicinity of the ancient Preah Vihear Temple on the fifth day of fighting between the two countries, Cambodian government officials said.

The Cambodian Defense Ministry said Defense Minister Tea Banh has accepted a proposal from his Thai counterpart Prawit Wongsuwan to hold talks in Phnom Penh "in the near future."

Phay Siphan, spokesman of the Cambodian Council of Ministers, said three Thai military aircraft flew over the Preah Vihear area at 1:38 p.m. and shortly after that Thai ground forces fired rockets and artillery into Cambodian territory in the Mt. Phnom Troap and Veal Intry area near the ancient Hindu temple.

No casualties were reported on the Cambodian side.

In Bangkok, a Thai army spokesman disputed Cambodia's charges that Thai military aircraft overflew Cambodian territory and said the ensuing fighting was probably based on a "misunderstanding."

"Four F-16 jet fighters of the Royal Thai Air Force were on a patrol and training mission in northeastern Thailand...They were flying above Thai territory but the Cambodians might have reacted (out of) misunderstanding," said Lt. Col. Siriya Khueangsirikul, the army spokeswoman.

Thai defense officials said the armed forces of the two countries also resumed fighting in disputed territories near the Ta Moan and Ta Krabey temples for the fifth straight day.

Thailand's Army spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said Cambodian troops fired multiple-launching rockets toward four Thai villages near the Ta Muen and Ta Kwai temples, killing one Thai villager and wounding three others as well as three Thai soldiers.

Siriya said Thai troops had not started any fighting with the Cambodians.

"They fired recoilless rifles and artillery into Thai territory. We had no choice but to react proportionately," she said.

The Ta Moan and Ta Krabey temples, about 150 kilometers west of Preah Vihear, became a new flash point between the two military forces last Friday.

Preah Vihear had been a source of conflict between the two neighbors, who are also fellow members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The International Court of Justice awarded the temple to Cambodia in 1962 and UNESCO, the U.N. education and science agency, put it on the World Heritage list in 2008.

Cambodian and Thai military forces have since fought several times over 4.6 square kilometers of disputed land near Preah Vihear. The last clash there had been in February.

To date, at least 12 soldiers have been killed and 57 others wounded on both sides in five days of fighting.

Phay Siphan said seven Cambodian soldiers have been killed and 17 wounded in the latest round of conflict.

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