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Military attaches from 14 countries visit Thai-Cambodia disputed border

Photos by Sermpong Thongsamrit
The military attaches of 14 countries on
Monday were taken on tour to see the damage caused on the Thai side of
the border by Cambodian shelling during the fighting between the two
countries.

Lt-Gen Sirichai Dithakul, the army deputy
chief-of-staff, led the military attaches to Phum Srol village in Si Sa
Ket’s Kantharalak district, which was worst hit by the cross-border
fire.

The clash between two countries on Feb. 4-7. claimed lives of soldiers and villagers of both sides.

One
building of Phum Srol School was hit by three rockets, causing heavy
damage and forcing the school to close. It reopened on Feb. 14 and
makeshift classrooms have been built to accommodate the students.

The
attaches taking part in the border visit were from the United States,
France, China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia,
Myanmar, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines, but the
Cambodian military attache was not in the group, Bangkok Post online
reported.

Lt-Gen Tawatchai Samutsakhon, the 2nd Army commander briefed the attaches about the situation at Phum Srol.

“Thai
soldiers want the conflict to be solved through negotiation and
peaceful means. We don’t want to invade any country, but only to
protect our sovereignty,” Bangkok Post quoted Lt-Gen Sirichai as
telling the military attaches.

The visit followed the four-point
aggreement proposed by Phnom Penh last Thursday. The fourth point is
that Cambodia and Thailand invite representatives from the Association
of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to observe the disputed area as to
ensure the permanent ceasefire.

Reports say on Saturday, Gen
Dapong Rattanasuwan, the army chief-of-staff, led a team to ceasefire
talks with Maj-Gen Hun Manet, the deputy army chief of Cambodia.

However, Lt-Gen Tawatchai, the 2nd Army chief, affirmed that no agreement was signed by the two sides.

Cambodia
and Thailand have had border conflict just a week after Cambodia’s
Preah Vihear temple was enlisted as the World Heritage Site on July 7,
2008.

The conflict is due to Thai claim of the ownership of 1.8
square miles (4.6 sq km) of scrub next to the temple, which resulted in
a military build-up along the border, and periodic clashes between
Cambodian and Thai soldiers have resulted in the deaths of troops on
both sides.

The latest clashes on Feb. 4-7, with a barrage of
artillery shells unleashed on both sides of the border, had claimed the
lives of soldiers and civilians on both sides and also caused tens of
thousands of the two countries’ villagers near the disputed areas
fleeing for safe shelters.

The United Nations Security Council
on Monday urged Cambodia and Thailand to display maximum restraint and
to establish a permanent ceasefire. It also expressed support for the
active efforts of ASEAN in the matter and encouraged the parties to
continue to cooperate with the organization.

Source: Xinhua

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Categories: Local News
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