Preah Vihear temple hostilities over : Thai and Khmer army chiefs

Friday, September 11, 2009

By Rasmei Kampuchea/Asia News Network, Deutsche Presse Agentur

Phnom Penh - Cambodian and Thai armed forces chiefs said 13 months of sometimes-fatal hostilities around the ancient Preah Vihear temple are at an end.

Military top brass of Thailand and Cambodia meet in Phnom Penh on Monday.

After the meeting, Thai Supreme Commander Gen Songkitti Jaggabatra said the dispute would no longer be allowed to damage relations between the two kingdoms.

"I would like to clarify again that there will be no more problems between Thailand and Cambodia. The border will not be the cause of any further disputes," he said.

"Cambodia and Thailand can not live separately. As Asean members, both countries shall not be in any cannot confrontation," said Songkiti.

At least seven soldiers from both sides were killed in occasional clashes around the temple complex since mid-2008 in a tense standoff that has had other members of the Asean regional bloc concerned.

Meanwhile Songkitti's counterpart; Gen Pol Saroeun echoed; "We have the same view. Our goal is to achieve peace and solidarity with each other as siblings."

Their meeting came just days after Prime Minister Hun Sen announced Cambodia would cut the number of troops stationed at Preah Vihear after Thailand reduced its forces to just 30 soldiers.

Preah Vihear Temple has been at the heart of controversy between Thailand and Cambodia. In 1962, the World Court granted ownership of the temple to Cambodia. The conflict erupted again after the Unesco listed it into the World Heritage List, a move that draw opposition from the Thai side.


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