>Cambodia says Thai forces violated temple


Thailand has boosted its military presence in Preah Vihear on 19th July.

Cambodia says Thai forces have violated its territory near a World Heritage listed temple where hundreds of troops continued to face off yesterday

Cambodia’s permanent mission in New York submitted a letter to the United Nations drawing its attention to “the situation on the Cambodian-Thai border,” Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said.

“Cambodia is not asking for UN intervention. We still stick to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s instructions to try to solve the problem peacefully between the two sides,” he said.

Despite their pledge to hold talks today in Thailand to try to defuse the tensions, Cambodia and Thailand have massed troops at the site.

The conflict over territory around Preah Vihear temple worsened when UNESCO recently approved Cambodia’s application to have it named a World Heritage Site.

Thai activists fear the new status will undermine Thailand’s claim to nearby land because the border has never been properly decided.

Troops from the opposing forces were on the brink of a shootout last Thursday but it was avoided when Cambodians retreated from a site occupied by the Thais.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said yesterday intense negotiations were needed to defuse the standoff “at no man’s land”.

“I will say no more – the complaint has reached the UN, the Thai Foreign Ministry will take care of the matter,” he said.

Opposing commanders and their troops have tried to defuse tensions, sometimes even sharing meals, snapping photographs and sleeping within sight of one another.

But a Cambodian general said he had little hope the coming talks between the governments would resolve the tense border dispute.

Cambodian Brig-Gen Chea Keo said Thai troops had deployed artillery about 1km northeast of Preah Vihear temple. “Regarding the talks, we have little hope about the outcome,” he said.
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