>A return to normalcy at the Cambodian-Thai border


Phay Siphan showing maps to journalists that indicated that the disputed area was located inside Cambodia.

06 October 2008
By Duong Sokha
Unofficial translation from French by Tola Ek for Ki-Media
Click here to read the original article in French
Click here to read the original article in Khmer

Phay Siphan, the new secretary of state and spokesman for the Council of Ministers, assured on Monday 06 October that the situation is returning to normal at the location about 2 kilometers from the Preah Viheat temple, where a shooting between soldiers from the two countries took place.

“We visited the location. Officials from the two armies met each other on Saturday. Thailand presented their apologies to us for the incident which took place on Friday, and they recognized that their soldiers started it. To date, the meeting between the two prime ministers [Cambodia and Thailand] planned for 13 October in Phnom Penh, at the Council of Ministers at 9:30 AM, has not been changed. I hope that the border issue will be approached during the discussions,” Phay Siphan explained while indicating that Cambodian troops deployed at the border remain at their position.

On Saturday, Hor Namhong, the Cambodian minister of Foreign Affairs sent a letter to the Thai embassy in Cambodia to express his wrath. Recalling the facts – i.e. that Thai soldiers trespassed into Cambodian territory of Phnom Troap and that they shot on Cambodian soldiers posted in the disputed zone of Preah Vihear and injured Cambodian soldiers – he explained that Cambodian soldiers returned the fire in “self-defense.” This exchange of fire between the two camps is a first since the start of border crisis between the two countries on 15 July.

“The Royal Government of Cambodia considers the action perpetrated by Thai soldiers as a serious armed provocation” which is contrary to the agreements concluded during the meeting of the two ministers of Foreign Affairs on 28 July in Siem Reap, Cambodia, and also on 18-19 August in Cha-am, Thailand, the ministry of Foreign Affairs indicated.

The Cambodian government “sharply protest,” – words written in capital letters in the communiqué – against this “deplorable and intentional armed provocation” by Thai soldiers. Hor Namhong called on the Thai government to prevent such incident from taking place again in the future, and he also warned that these incidents could lead “to very serious consequence, notably to the opening of general armed confrontations which would negatively affect the current efforts made by the two governments to find a peaceful and amicable solution to the current border problems.”

Furthermore, several overseas Cambodian associations have launched a joint petition on Sunday 05 October, in order to obtain 1 million thumbprints from their compatriots to call on the UN and member-countries to review “the issue of the violation of Cambodia’s integrity and sovereignty by neighboring countries,” the communiqué explained.

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