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Thais sceptical over truce with Cambodia

Thai troops are sceptical of a proposed truce with Cambodia holding any
weight, with the Suranaree Task Force claiming Cambodia has broken 121
agreements relating to a memorandum of understanding signed in 2000
aimed at avoiding border disputes.
A foreign military attache takes a photo at Pha MorI Dang, a cliff close
to the Cambodian border and the Preah Vihear temple, during an
army-organised trip to inspect thedamage caused by clashes between the
Thai troops have raised concerns whether their Cambodian counterparts would keep their promise on any truce.
Army chief-of-staff Dapong Rattanasuwan led a team on Saturday in
ceasefire talks with Maj Gen Hun Manet, the deputy army chief of
Cambodia. An eight-point agreement was reached.
The Suranaree Task Force said yesterday Cambodia had violated border
and military agreements over the disputed 4.6-square-kilometre site 121
times in the 11 years since the two countries signed a memorandum on
surveying and demarcating the boundary in an effort to avoid disputes.
The violations allegedly include construction and renovation of Wat
Keo Sikha Kiri Svara, building roads to Preah Vihear temple, building
shops and markets near Preah Vihear, building accommodation in the
area, building military shelters, erecting a ladder to Preah Vihear,
the construction of a telephone signal pole and building a cable car on
Phu Makhua mountain, west of Preah Vihear.
Cambodia also built 935 steps to Phu Makhua in breach of the agreements, the task force said.
The 2000 memorandum and military agreements bars the two countries
from building or making geographic or landscape changes in the area.
“Cambodia’s proposal for the unilateral listing of Preah Vihear as a
world heritage site also broke the agreement because of the unsettled
demarcation,” the task force said in its statement.
The Suranaree Task Force reached an agreement with the Cambodian
forces to reduce troop levels at Wat Keo Sikha Kiri Svara and the
nearby area to 30 each but Cambodia gradually reinforced its troops to
about 1,000 at the temple and at Preah Vihear, the task force said.
Thai and Cambodian troops also reached an agreement on Oct 27 last
year to adjust their forces to ease tensions in the disputed area.
“The Thai army adjusted its forces as requested but the Cambodian
side hid its troops and heavy arms in disputed areas and refused Thai
requests for examination,” the task force said.
The Thai army yesterday took military attaches from 14 countries to
see the damage caused by Cambodian shelling during the fighting from
Feb 4-7.
Army deputy chief-of-staff Sirichai Dithakul took the attaches to
Ban Phum Srol in Si Sa Ket’s Kantharalak district, which was worst hit
by the cross-border fire.
One villager was killed and others were wounded. Tens of thousands of villagers along the border were evacuated.
The attaches taking part in the border visit represented the US,
France, China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia,
Burma, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines. The Cambodian
military attache did not join the group.
“Thai soldiers want the conflict to be solved through negotiation
and peaceful means,” Lt Gen Sirichai told the attaches. “We don’t want
to invade any country but only to protect our sovereignty.”
A military source said Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya asked Defence
Minister Prawit Wongsuwon to invite the military attaches to the border.
Bangkok Post
Categories: Local News
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