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Cambodian residents leave home amid military buildup at border area with Thailand ខែកក្កដា 24, 2008

Posted by សុភ័ក្ត្រ in News.
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PHNOM PENH, July 23 (Xinhua) — Village people left their homes for relatives far away, as Cambodia and Thailand built up their military presence at the border area over bilateral land dispute, a village chief said Wednesday.

    “People are afraid when they see the troops from both sides in their area near the Preah Vihear Temple. Thai troops are still deployed inside the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara Pagoda (some 300 meters away from the temple) and its adjacent places,” Bun Leng, chief of Preah Vihear Village in eponymous province, told Xinhua over phone.

    “They fear armed confrontation,” he added.

    Military standoff between Cambodia and Thailand entered into the eighth day, as both governments dismissed any possibility of evacuation but instead submitted different versions of maps to prove their legal possession of the 4.6-square-kilometer land nearthe temple.

    Thai troops were reportedly over 500 with tanks and artillery, while Cambodian some 1,000. However, Phay Siphan, spokesman of theCouncil of Ministers of Cambodia, refused to confirm the figures.

    “Each side has at least about 100 troops inside the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara Pagoda,” he told Xinhua.

    The general situation inside and in the vicinity of the pagoda is calm and both sides don’t have weapons inside, as the governments have agreed not to cause violence and armed confrontation, he said.

    “Cambodia can control the situation along its border and our troops are also deployed at other places to guarantee safety and security for our people,” he added.

    Bun Leng said that Khmer-speaking Thai troops dug military bunkers at their side and it looked like they wanted to fight withthe Cambodians.

    Thai troops had clear strategies to block Cambodians from accessing the Preah Vihear Temple, because the pagoda stood on the way to it, he said.

    Both troops haven’t mobilized so far, but Cambodian soldiers started to send short messages to tell their friends and relatives to boycott Thai products, he added.

    However, “people here need normal lives, so that they can make business with Thais near the border as they used to do,” he said.

    Cambodian tycoon Kith Meng, who runs TV channels and mobile phone service, arrived at the border Wednesday morning to donate food, raincoats and camp tents for Cambodian troops, he said.

    Tuesday, officials from the Royal Palace of Cambodia also brought some food and materials for the people and troops, he added.

    Earlier Wednesday, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) stated that it failed to mediate between the two ASEAN members, saying that it would adversely affect the regional organization.

    The UN Security Council is reportedly to convene an urgent meeting Thursday to find peaceful solution to the ongoing stalemate.

    As Thailand refused to evacuate the alleged Cambodian territory,the Cambodian government has written letters this week to ASEAN, UNESCO and UN Security Council to ask for help and justice.

    On Monday, bilateral top-level talks in Thailand failed to reach any agreement to end the military face-off.

    In 1962, the International Court of Justice awarded the 11-century classic Khmer-style Preah Vihear Temple, together with the land it occupies, to Cambodia.

    On July 7, the temple was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee.

    On July 15, three Thai protesters trespassed the border to reclaim the temple, but were immediately arrested.

    Thai troops then came in to fetch them, thus triggering standoff with Cambodian soldiers there. Military force was then built up on daily basis until the current scale.

ប្រភព៖ http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-07/23/content_8757458.htm

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