>New Thai PM plans visit to Cambodia next month: Hun Sen

>Thailand’s Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Thailand’s new prime minister plans to visit neighbouring Cambodia next month, according to premier Hun Sen, amid a simmering border dispute between the two countries.

Hun Sen said on Friday that the visit was planned for October 13, but did not say whether he and premier Somchai Wongsawat would discuss the spat over land near ancient temples along their border that led to a weeks-long military standoff.

“If there is no change, there might be a visit by the new Thai prime minister to Cambodia next month,” Hun Sen announced during the first meeting of his new government’s cabinet.

A Thai foreign ministry spokesman confirmed discussions were being held about a future visit but said no date had yet been fixed.

Cambodia and Thailand are scheduled to resume talks about their borders next Monday, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York.

Bilateral meetings over the issue were postponed in late August amid anti-government street protests in Thailand.

Much of the Cambodian-Thai border remains in dispute, and the slow pace of clearing old landmines from the area has delayed its demarcation.

Tensions flared in July after the ancient Khmer temple of Preah Vihear was awarded world heritage status by the UN cultural body UNESCO, angering nationalists in Thailand who still claim ownership of the site.

Those tensions turned into a military standoff, in which up to 1,000 Cambodian and Thai troops faced off for six weeks until both sides agreed to pull back in mid-August.

Talks to discuss withdrawing the remaining troops from around Preah Vihear were postponed late last month amid the political turmoil in Thailand.

Somchai was elected by parliament earlier this month after his predecessor was stripped of office by a court, amid the ongoing anti-government protests.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the temple belongs to Cambodia, but surrounding land remains in dispute.

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