April 29, 2011
Thailand's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Thani Thongpakdi said on Thursday that the country is waiting for the official confirmation from Cambodia leader regarding the ceasefire on border area, although both local military commanders reached agreement Thursday.
Thani was speaking at a press conference that the commanders on the ground of two sides -- Cambodian Maj Gen Chea Mon, commander of Military Region 4 and Lt Gen Thawatchai Samutsakorn, commander of Thai Army Region 2, respectively, agreed to halt firing and would report back to their superiors for further consideration on official truce.
"The talks was preliminary and both sides would report back to their superiors for further consideration,"Thani said.
According to Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd, Thai army spokesman, the truce talks arranged at Chong Chom Border Checkpoint in Thailand's Surin province at around 10:00 a.m. came after a telephone conversation between Thai Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan and Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Tea Banh.
"Thai army presented information regarding the border skirmishes and discussed its counterpart the reopening of the border and Gen Chea Mon said he would first consult with his superior who has full authority to make decision on ceasefire," said Col Sansern who also attended the press conference at the Foreign Ministry.
The Cambodia's announcement of ceasefire, even though Thailand has not been informed officially yet from its leader, was a positive development which would lead to further talks, according to Col Sansern.
There were six Thai soldiers killed and some 70 others were injured in the latest border clash which started from last Friday, the army spokesman said.
Following a meeting that lasted about 45 minutes on Thursday, Phay Siphan, spokesman of the Office of the Council of Ministers of Cambodia revealed to the media that both countries agreed to reach an unconditional ceasefire and encouraged both sides to meet regularly to ease tension.
The talks are made after the seven straight days of border fighting between Thai and Cambodian troops at the border areas around the 13th-century Ta Muen Thom and Ta Kwai temples in northeastern Surin province, adjacent to Oddar Meanchey province of Cambodia. Both sides blamed the other for pulling the trigger first.
The earlier attempt to hold a meeting on ceasefire on Tuesday collapsed as Thailand's defence minister canceled the appointment with its counterpart after finding some Cambodian media misreported that Thailand wanted to surrender since it was defeated.
In February, four-day border fighting flared up in another disputed border area nearby the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple which has long been the cause of border tension between the two countries, killing at least 10 people and driving over tens thousands of people to flee their homes.
Although the International Court of Justice in 1962 decided to award the Hindu temple to Cambodia, the problem over the ownership of a 4.6-sqaure-km plot of land surrounding the ruins have never been resolved. Both countries lay claim to the disputed area.
Sporadic border skirmishes along the border of two countries stemmed from a long-standing conflict of uncompleted demarcation process which often falls under nationalism.
The latest border firing which first erupted on April 22 resulted in the death of six Thai soldiers and eight Cambodian soldiers with one civilian loss on Thai side. About 30,000 Thai and 23,000 Cambodian people were forced to flee to makeshift evacuation centers.