Home > Local News > Accusations fly over new skirmish

Accusations fly over new skirmish

Cambodia and Thailand today accused each other of violating a
permanent ceasefire proposed by the United Nations Security Council on
Monday, both pointing the finger for a series of skirmishes late on
Tuesday and early this morning.
Foreign Minister Hor Namhong speaks to reporters following his return from the United States today. Photo by: Sovan Philong
Speaking to reporters at Phnom
Penh International Airport after returning from New York, Foreign
Minister Hor Namhong alleged Thailand opened fire on Cambodian
positions with mortars and grenades.
“This is a violation [of the ceasefire],” Hor Namhong said.
“The shooting last night and this morning abused the recommendations of the UNSC.”
In
its session on Monday, the 15-member council urged the two parties to
“exercise maximum constraint” while continuing to work through
bilateral and regional channels to solve the dispute.
It rejected Cambodia’s call to deploy UN peacekeepers and urged both sides to honour the ceasefire.
At
least 10 people were killed and dozens injured on both sides during
four days of clashes close to Preah Vihear temple during February 4-7.
The
skirmishes were just the latest in a series of firefights that have
broken out in the area sporadically since July 2008, when UNESCO listed
Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site.
In a statement
today, the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thai forces fired
grenades and 81mm mortars into the Phnom Trop area close to Preah
Vihear between 9:00pm on Tuesday and 5:00am yesterday.
It said Thai troops were injured when their grenades hit tree branches and bounced back towards their positions.
“This
violation of the ceasefire by Thai armed forces clearly shows that the
real intention behind Thailand’s insistence on resolving the matter
bilaterally is to use its overwhelming superior military forces to take
over Cambodian territory in the vicinity of the temple of Preah
Vihear,” read the statement.
It added that Cambodian troops did not respond to the Thai “provocation”.
Thailand has also accused Cambodia of triggering the skirmish.
Sansern
Kaewkamnerd, spokesman for the Royal Thai Army, said today that
Cambodian soldiers initiated a series of attacks against a Thai outpost
at Phu Ma Khua but were repulsed, according to a report in the Bangkok Post. There were no casualties, he said.
The Nation reported that five Thai soldiers were injured during a skirmish that lasted from 5:00am to 7:30am this morning.
One of them was seriously wounded and was rushed to a hospital in nearby province of Ubon Ratchathani, the paper reported.
Hor
Namhong said that at the upcoming ASEAN foreign ministers meeting, to
be held in Jakarta on Tuesday, he will request that the bloc send
observers to guarantee the ceasefire.
“When there is the meeting in Jakarta, I will request observers from ASEAN to monitor the ceasefire.
“Whether Thailand accepts or not we will see,” he said.
“Thailand accused Cambodia of invading them and opening fire first at them so why is Thailand afraid of receiving observers.”
Following
the clashes today, military commanders from both sides met for about
two hours at Phnom Trop, agreeing on seven points including a cessation
of nighttime attacks, according to one soldier who gave his name only
as Chamroeun.
“It is hard to believe the Thai side,” he said. “They are unfaithful.”
Following
the recent border flare-up, the UN has withdrawn six staff from Koh
Kong town, around eight kilometres from the Thai border, according to
an internal email obtained today.
“Kindly be advised that travel
to Koh Kong is currently restricted for all UN staff until further
notice,” the email stated, adding that up to 70 percent of the town’s
population had left due to recent tensions.
A UN spokesman said today that the organisation does not comment on staff security and safety. ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY REUTERS
Phnom Penh Post
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Categories: Local News
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