Home > Local News > Thailand, Cambodia Reach Ceasefire Agreement After Cross Border Firing

Thailand, Cambodia Reach Ceasefire Agreement After Cross Border Firing

Photo by Reuters: Cambodian soldiers sit at Preah Vihear temple after a brief clash with Thai troops, February 05, 2011.  
Thailand and Cambodia agreed to a ceasefire Saturday after renewed
fighting in a disputed border region killed at least one soldier.

A tentative ceasefire appeared to be holding late Saturday after Thai
and Cambodian troops exchanged artillery fire along their shared border.

Military
officials from the two countries blamed each other for the outbreak of
hostilities, the first in the region resulting in fatalities in a year.

Thai
government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn says the military has
specific rules of engagement that were also communicated to Cambodia.

“We
have instructed the military to respond only when attacked to specific
military targets only, and the Prime Minister asked the officers in the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs to communicate this intention clearly to
Cambodia,” Panitan said. “The Prime Minister also hopes that we can
continue to work with Cambodia in achieving a peaceful solution. Only
we regret that we have casualties on both sides.”

Fighting broke out late Friday near the 900 year old Preah Vihear temple in a disputed area near the Thai-Cambodia border.

The
fighting is the latest flare-up between the neighboring nations over
the disputed land and control of the ancient Hindu temple.

Both
Cambodia and Thailand have laid claim to the temple. A 1962 World Court
ruling awarded it to Cambodia, which also successfully had the temple
declared a World Heritage site in 2008. But the exact border near the
temple has never been settled, leading to periodic skirmishes.

Tensions
have risen in recent days because of demonstrations by influential Thai
nationalist groups demanding Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to take a
tougher stance in the border dispute.

Political observers say
the clashes mark a setback in steps to promote a wider political
security and community grouping within the 10-member Association of
South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Both Thailand and Cambodia are ASEAN
members.

ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan expressed deep
concern over the conflict, calling for and end to the violence and a
return to negotiations. Surin said both sides appeared open to some
form of mediation by ASEAN.

Source: VOA News
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Categories: Local News
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