>Tej: Cambodia has yet to speak on withdrawal of troops


Mr. Tej (L) shook hand with Mr. Hor Namhong, Cambodia’s foreign minister, during a meeting in Siem Reap on 28th July.

Reiterating that it is up to the Thai government as to when troops might be withdrawn from the disputed Preah Vihear temple site claimed by both Thailand and Cambodia, Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag said Thursday the Cambodian government has “not informed Thailand officially” when it will pull out its troops from the area.

It is not necessary for the Thai government to react because the Cambodian government has not shown any sign that it would withdraw its troops from the disputed area, Mr. Tej said.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said in Phnom Penh on Tuesday that Cambodian troops were ready to withdraw from the 4.6-square-kilometre disputed area adjacent to the 11th century temple.

He indicated that the timing of the troop withdrawal is up to Thailand to decide, as far as when the action is taken, as it is not a problem for Cambodia.

Mr Tej said what Hun Sen had said could be his personal opinion but that “so far there is no official reaction from Cambodia.”

Senior Thai officials on Thursday held a workshop at the National Security Council and one major topic of discussion was expected to focus on the agreements made by foreign ministers of the two countries on Monday in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province.

Thai and Cambodian foreign ministers called for the redeployment of troops in and around the new pagoda located in the temple complex, so that a meeting of the Joint Boundary Commission could be held to continue to demarcate the border line, to clear landmines around the ancient temple, and to avoid armed confrontation.

Mr Tej said the Thai military will have to follow the government’s instruction and that a troop reduction could not be made at once due to official procedures. (TNA)

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