>British Govt urges restraint in Thai-Cambodian border clashes

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An armored vehicle drives past Anlong Veng, Cambodia, near the Thai border, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2008. A tense border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia erupted into a gunbattle that killed two soldiers Wednesday, but officials from both sides downplayed the violence and called for resolving the conflict through talks, not bullets.

(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

LONDON (AFP) — The British government urged both Thailand and Cambodia to exercise restraint on Wednesday after the two countries exchanged gunfire along their border.

“I am concerned to hear reports of fighting on the border between Thailand and Cambodia,” junior foreign minister Bill Rammell said in a statement.

“I urge both sides to exercise restraint and take immediate steps to ease tension and find a peaceful solution to this dispute, through bilateral discussions.”

Britain also amended its travel advice on the two countries, recommending that its citizens avoided all travel to the border region.

Earlier Wednesday, Thailand and Cambodia traded fire on the border in a clash over disputed land which left two soldiers dead and several wounded, officials said.

Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said two of his country’s soldiers were killed and two wounded in the clashes, which erupted sporadically for more than two hours before tapering off.

Cambodia and Thailand have been sparring over the land since July and tensions mounted this week after talks on Monday failed and about 80 Thai troops entered a disputed area, enraging Cambodia.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon called on “both parties to exercise utmost restraint and urges them to expedite bilateral talks so that their differences can be resolved peacefully,” according to a statement issued by his spokeswoman.

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