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Thailand and Cambodia agree to adjust military deployment at Preah Vihear area

Thailand and Cambodia agreed on Monday to adjust military deployement in the area around the Preah Vihear temple, Cambodia’s Foreign Minister Hor Nam Hong said.

He did not elaborate how to adjust the military presence in the area.

The minister was speaking after holding talks with the Thai side for almost 12 hours in a hotel in Siem Reap province on Monday.

Source: The Nation

Thailand's Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag (L) and his Cambodian ...

Thailand’s Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag (L) and his Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhong speaks during a news conference after their bilateral in Siem Reap July 28, 2008. The Thai and Cambodian foreign ministers held talks on Monday to try to defuse a row over a 900-year-old temple that has raised fears of a military clash between the southeast Asian neighbours.

REUTERS/Adrees Latif (CAMBODIA)

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Talks Founder

[dpa]

Siem Reap – Discussions over the ancient Preah Vihear temple stalled on Monday afternoon, Cambodian delegates said, adding that the prognosis for a bilateral solution was not good.

A senior Cambodian official who spoke on condition of anonymity claimed part of the problem for his side was the inexperience of the newly appointed Thai Foreign Minister Tej Bunnang.

“Cambodia is not happy. Neither side is happy,” the Cambodian diplomat said. “On the Thai side, the new foreign minister has not enough capacity to talk with the veteran Cambodian Foreign Minister.”

Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong has held the post for decades. A seasoned diplomat, he is not known for giving ground.

The two sides of six delegates moved into a third phase of talks late Monday, hours after they had been scheduled to end.

Shortly after the Preah Vihear temple was made a World Heritage Site by UNESCO this month, Thailand moved troops into what it calls a disputed area that Cambodia maintains is its territory.

The 11th-century temple is sacred to Thais and Cambodians but only easily accessible from Thailand. Cambodia closed the border in June, saying it feared trouble after Thai protests.

Both sides have said they would not back down on the issue, which has voter nationalism running high.

Cambodia held national elections Sunday, returning the current government with an increased majority, but the Thai government of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej remains under pressure.

Meanwhile troops in Preah Vihear, around 300 kilometres from the capital, were increasingly restless and a troop buildup continued.

“I am former Khmer Rouge. I am not used to sitting around. I am used to attacking my enemy,” said Khun Sarath, 57. “I am ready to fight the Thai invader as soon as the government gives the word.”

The Cambodians have said the word will not come and the next step will be mediation at the United Nations if bilateral talks fail. A total alcohol ban is in force around the temple to curb the enthusiasm of fighters like Sarath.

In 2003 an angry mob torched the Thai embassy and some businesses over a false rumour that a Thai actress had claimed another temple, Angkor Wat, was Thai, and Cambodian officials have said they are determined that such a diplomatic disaster will not be repeated.


Earlier report:

No progress was reported on Monday from bilateral talks on the flashpoint Preah Vihear temple despite the presence of new Thai Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag, reports from Siem Reap say.

Foreign ministers from the two Southeast Asian nations expressed optimism that their talks would produce a breakthrough in the dispute.

But midway through the talks Monday in Siem Reap, the mood was tense and progress remained elusive, officials said.

“We have discussed many points but we have not reached a solution yet,” Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told reporters.

Source: The Bangkok Post

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“I talked with [Cambodian] Prime Minister Hun Sen a while ago and we agreed that our foreign ministers will hold a meeting in Siem Reap on 28 July,” Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej told journalists.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen also told me that he will withdraw the issue from the United Nations,” he said. Read more from BBC

A Cambodian soldier (R) shakes hands with a Thai soldier on ...

A Cambodian soldier (R) shakes hands with a Thai soldier on patrol near the Cekakiri Svarak pagoda of the Preah Vihear temple, about 245 km (152 miles) north of Phnom Penh, July 24, 2008. Cambodia accused Thailand on Thursday of sending more troops to their joint border as a smouldering dispute over a 900-year-old temple showed no signs of easing.

REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang (THAILAND)

A Cambodian soldier stands with a Thai soldier near the Cekakiri ...

A Cambodian soldier stands with a Thai soldier near the Cekakiri Svarak pagoda of the Preah Vihear temple, about 245 km (152 miles) north of Phnom Penh, July 24, 2008. Cambodia accused Thailand on Thursday of sending more troops to their joint border as a smouldering dispute over a 900-year-old temple showed no signs of easing.

(Sukree Sukplang/Reuters)

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Cambodian Defence Minister General Tea Banh (L) speaks during …

Cambodian Defence Minister General Tea Banh (L) speaks during ...

Cambodian Defence Minister General Tea Banh (L) speaks during a news conference with Thai Supreme Commander General Boonsrang Niumpradit at the Thai border town of Aranyaprathet, 250 km (155 miles) east of Bangkok, July 21 2008. Thailand and Cambodia held an urgent meeting to settle a land dispute on the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple along their border.

REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang (THAILAND)

Thai Supreme Commander General Boonsrang Niumpradit (R) shakes …

Thai Supreme Commander General Boonsrang Niumpradit (R) shakes ...

Thai Supreme Commander General Boonsrang Niumpradit (R) shakes hands with Cambodian Defence Minister General Tea Banh after a news conference at theThai border town of Aranyaprathet, 250 km (155 miles) east of Bangkok, July 21 2008. Thailand and Cambodia held an urgent meeting to settle a land dispute on the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple along their border.

REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang (THAILAND)

Cambodian Defence Minister General Tea Banh reacts to a question …

Cambodian Defence Minister General Tea Banh reacts to a question ...

Cambodian Defence Minister General Tea Banh reacts to a question after a news conference at the Thai border town of Aranyaprathet, 250 km (155 miles) east of Bangkok, July 21 2008. Thailand and Cambodia held an urgent meeting to settle a land dispute on the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple along their border.

REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang (THAILAND)

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