Cambodian Chief Army Says Border Conflict Could be over Soon
Written by DAP NEWS -- Sunday, 09 August 2009 06:21
The Cambodian army chief at the Thai border on Saturday expressed hope that the tense situation along Cambodia-Thai border could be eased soon after Thai soldiers, stationed illegally at the border area, have gradually begin to remove wire and border markers. “I am optimistic that the border conflict with Thailand will be normal soon and the situation will return to the status quo of before July 15, 2008,” Srey Doeuk, chief of Cambodian forces at Cambodia’s Preah Vihear temple told DAP News Cambodia on Saturday. “The situation will be normal soon because Thai soldiers gradually took wire and border markers away,” he said. According to the Bangkok Post, Army Region 2 Commander Lt. Gen Wibulsak Neepal said that the situation along Thai-Cambodia border, including areas nearby the Khmer ancient Preah Vihear Temple, is still normal.
“The discussion on the disputed border area between Thailand and the neighboring country continued smoothly and it is believed that the border problem will be gradually resolved,” Lt Gen Wibulsak told the Bangkok Post. Asked about Thai requests for a reopening of the Preah Vihear National Park for Thai and foreign tourists, the commander of army region 2 said that “It would take sometime before the national park can be reopened. It will need a joint agreement between Thailand and Cambodia on where the tourists can visit for their safety.” The border standoff began to improve following Cambodian deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong’s two-day visit to Thailand for the 6th Cambodia-Thailand bilateral cooperation summit. During his official visit, the both parties agreed to open a new border crossing at south of Poipet border crossing to ease traffic and promote trade. After they encroached illegally into Cambodia on July 15, 2008, Thai troops installed wire and border markers around Cambodia’s ancient Preah Vihear Temple. Some of the supplies of wire have been used to fortify Thai positions. The Thais have unlawfully insisted that the area is an “overlapping” claimed area which has never been clearly demarcated. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen recently claimed that both sides wnted to avoid a war at the border. Recent developments suggest a joint agreement over border demarcation is feasible. Thailand has repeatedly played for time in negotiations with Cambodia by claiming the matter must be put before the Thai National Assembly. Var Kimhong, head of the Cambodian Border Committee, said that “We cannot achieve anything with Thailand related to border demarcation because the Thai assem- bly has not allowed yet.” “We cannot trust Thailand; they have promised us since April but now they still decline to demarcate,” he added. The Cambodian Government often confirms its stance of not encroaching upon Thai territory even one millimeter, though Cambodia has vowed to stand fast to protect its land area at Preah Vihear and it environs. Cambodia is holding its patience with Thailand even though it uses many tricks, especially called on international community not to be stand for Cambodia as registering Cambodia’s Preah Vihear Temple as a world heritage site. The two parties exchanged fired for two times which left many deaths and injuries. Both the International Court and World Heritage Committee have agreed that Preah Vihear Temple is Cambodian territory, UNESCO inscribing the ancient sanctuary as a World Heritage Site. According to legal documents, Thailand has no right to illegally invade Cambodian land.