>Secretary-General urges restraint as Cambodian-Thai border row turns deadly

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A Cambodian soldier (L) sits next to surrendered Thai troops at Sekha Kirisvarak pagoda near the disputed 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple in Preah Vihear province, 543 km (337 miles) north of Phnom Penh October 15, 2008. Cambodia’s army captured 10 Thai soldiers on Wednesday after a battle along a disputed stretch of border near the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

15 October 2008 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed deep concern about the exchange of gunfire today along the Cambodian-Thai border near a disputed ancient temple that has reportedly led to the deaths of at least two people.

“He calls on both parties to exercise utmost restraint and urges them to expedite bilateral talks so that their differences can be resolved peacefully,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement.

Media reports say two people were killed during the exchange of fire between Thai and Cambodian soldiers near the Preah Vihear Temple, which was inscribed on the World Heritage List by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in July.

Since then there has been a build-up of military forces on both sides, and Mr. Ban has called previously for Cambodia and Thailand to both exercise restraint.

The temple, which dates back to the 11th century, was recognized by the World Heritage Committee for “its natural situation on a promontory, with sheer cliffs overlooking a vast plain and mountain range; the quality of its architecture adapted to the natural environment and religious function of the temple; and, finally, the exceptional quality of the carved stone ornamentation of the temple.”

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