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Army rules out rushed talks with Cambodia

Hun Sen’s son blamed for resumed hostilities 

Thai army officers have no plans to rush into
talks with Cambodia to end the border conflict as they say the
Cambodians are lacking in unity and are not keeping to their word.
“Despite [previous] talks [among commanders] and truce agreement,
Cambodian field units started firing again,” 2nd Army commander
Thawatchai Samutsakhon said yesterday.
“It’s them who start the fight every time and then [they] come up
with this and that excuse. I won’t negotiate [with them] yet,” Lt Gen
Thawatchai said.
“As for now, we are fully prepared to curb whatever is to come.”
He said the ceasefire deal might not have been conveyed properly to field units, and this was why firing went on.
Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon has ordered the 2nd Army to try to
hold further talks with Cambodia and to find a way to effectively end
the fighting, Defence Ministry spokesman Thanathip Sawangsaeng said.
Col Thanathip said Gen Prawit was very worried about the situation.
“In past negotiations between military commanders from the two
sides, Cambodia has agreed to stop firing and the commanders seemed to
understand,” the spokesman said.
“But the agreed messages might have not reached all operation units yet, so there were still clashes.”
An army source said Gen Prawit spoke with Cambodian Prime Minister
Hun Sen and Defence Minister Tea Banh by telephone on Saturday and they
agreed to a ceasefire and to stop reinforcing their troops.
“But Cambodia has not kept its word and has started a new attack on
Thailand, which has infuriated the [Thai] defence minister,” the source
Thai field commanders believe the Cambodian operation after the
ceasefire on Sunday was the work of Hun Sen’s son, Hun Manet, who was
promoted to a two-star general in a ceremony earlier this month.
He is commanding the Cambodian troops based near the Preah Vihear temple himself.
“Hun Sen wants the Cambodian people to be satisfied with his son and
he wants to show them his [impressive] roles before he is to be
promoted to the army chief’s post,” a source said.
Brig Gen Hun Manet, 33, who graduated from the US Military Academy
at West Point, wanted to retaliate against Thai troops after Cambodian
troops suffered severe damage in Friday’s clashes, the source said.
“I know that the Cambodian side faced heavy losses,” Lt Gen Thawatchai said.
“We also have some losses, so we should not fight. But when
Cambodian troops do not have unity, it’s useless to talk with them now.”
Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said yesterday he hoped
dialogue between the two sides was still possible as a key mechanism to
end the border row.

Bangkok Post

Categories: Local News
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