>Thailand, Cambodia halt military moves pending border talks

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Thai tanks are seen moving into the border areas close to the disputed zone on 19th July.

BANGKOK, July 19 (Xinhua) — Both Thailand and Cambodia have agreed to temporarily suspend all military movements along the Thai-Cambodian border at Thailand’s Si Sa Ket province and Cambodia’s Preah Vihear province, waiting for the Thai-Cambodian General Border Committee (GBC) meeting to be held in Thai Sa Kaeo province on Monday.

According to reports of the state-run Thai News Agency, Weewalit Jornsamrit, Second Army Area Deputy Commander of Thailand, has been assigned to inspect the disputed border area and discuss the situation with Cambodia’s Preah Vihear province deputy governor.

Weewalit was quoted as saying that both sides agreed to suspend military movements that may cause further tension, but the military officials would remain stationed at strategic points pending the result of the GBC meeting.

Meanwhile, Thai government spokesman Vichienchot Sukchokrat said he was informed by Don Pramudwinai, Thailand’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) that Cambodia has asked for UN help in dealing with the border dispute.

The content of the Cambodian petition is not known to the Thai government, and Thailand is awaiting the details, he said.

Second Army Area Commander Sujit Sitthiprapa said on Saturday that he has ordered military officers under his command to be on alert for 24 hours as Cambodian troops had built up their troop numbers at the Preah Vihear Temple border side. He said he believed that the GBC border meeting could find a joint solution to ease the tension.

The military standoff between Cambodia and Thailand entered its fifth day on Saturday. Both countries historically laid claim to the 11th century temple, which now sits on Cambodian soil following the action of the International Court of Justice which awarded the ancient temple to Cambodia in 1962. However, the temple can practicably only be accessed from Thailand.

However, the exact demarcation of the border around the ruins remains in contention.

The security situation around the temple deteriorated after three Thais, including a Buddhist monk, were briefly detained by Cambodian soldiers after surreptitiously crossing into the disputed border area on Tuesday. The trio were released the same day but refused to leave the 4.6 square kilometer disputed area adjoining the temple complex.

Thailand first issued a warning that travel to the vicinity of the temple be avoided, but later closed off access altogether within 10 kilometers of the temple.

Editor: Yan Liang
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