2011年4月27日水曜日

Thai-Cambodia border clash flares up again

At least 14 people killed as fighting spreads in the disputed Dangrek mountains, home to several ancient temples.

Thai soldiers near the border with Cambodia in Surin province as fighting there killed at least 14 people [REUTERS]

Fighting continued for a sixth day between Thai and Cambodian troops on Wednesday in an area near three disputed 12th-century temples, as talks between the two sides appeared to collapse.
At least 14 people, including at least one civilian, have been killed in the cross-border artillery fire in the

Dangrek mountains within the past week, and 50,000 have arrive at evacuation centres.
The latest fighting began at 5am, and was continuing more than four hours later - with heavy shelling near the Ta Moan and Ta Krabey temples, Cambodia's defence ministry said.

Thai defence minister Prawit Wongsuwon had been expected to meet his Cambodian counterpart, Tea Banh, in Phnom Penh on Wednesday - but reportedly pulled out of the trip because of alleged comments made on Cambodian TV.

"We decided last night to cancel General Prawit's trip to Phnom Penh today after some Cambodia media reported Thailand agreed to ceasefire talks after it admitted defeat and losses," army spokesman Colonel Sunsern Kaewkumnerd told Reuters.
"We welcome talks on the condition that they stop firing first for a few days. We clearly informed Cambodia of this condition," Sunsern said.

Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan responded by saying Thailand "isn't honest about wanting to reach a permanent ceasefire".
The bloodiest fighting along the disputed jungle border in decades has spread to the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple, the focus of strained relations between the neighbours since it was granted UN World Heritage status in 2008.

The area, 150km east of two other disputed temple complexes that were the scene of fierce fighting over the weekend, had been relatively calm for two months.
Thailand says it wants a bilateral solution to the dispute, says the AFP news agency, while Cambodia seeks international mediation and independent monitors in the region - as agreed by Association of South

East Asian Nations foreign ministers in Jakarta in February.
Sovereignty over the ancient, stone-walled Hindu temples - Preah Vihear, Ta Moan and Ta Krabey - and the jungle of the Dangrek Mountains surrounding them has been in dispute since the withdrawal of the French from Cambodia in the 1950s.