Friday, July 25, 2008

Cambodia hopes talks can resolve Thai military standoff

Posted: 25 July 2008 1513 hrs

Cambodian soldiers stand guard at Preah Vihear temple
in the Cambodian Preah Vihear province.

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia's foreign minister said Friday he was optimistic that high-level talks with Thailand next week would resolve a military standoff in a territorial dispute on their shared border. Some 4,000 Thai and Cambodian soldiers are facing off over a small patch of land near the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple, in one of the most dangerous flare-ups of regional tensions in decades Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Thai counterpart Samak Sundaravej have agreed their foreign ministers will meet Monday to try to find a peaceful solution. Cambodia also agreed to ask the UN Security Council to postpone a formal meeting on the standoff until after the talks. "This is a new step by Cambodia in order to find a peaceful and bilateral solution," Cambodian foreign minister Hor Namhong told reporters after a brief meeting with ambassadors in Phnom Penh representing the five permanent Security Council members. "I hope that the meeting can reach a solution. I have a lot of hope," he said. Hor Namhong said he assured the diplomats that Cambodia would avoid a war. "Going to the UN is better than war. It is a solution through legal and diplomatic means," he said.
He declined to say what would be discussed at the talks, but Western diplomats here said the two countries would consider confidence-building measures, including the withdrawal of troops and the situation in the disputed zone near the temple. Talks aimed at resolving the crisis ended without resolution on Monday, raising fears that the crisis could erupt in violence. Tensions emerged after the UN cultural agency UNESCO awarded World Heritage status to the Preah Vihear temple earlier this month, angering Thai nationalists. The situation boiled over after three Thai protesters were arrested last week for jumping a fence to reach the temple. The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the Preah Vihear temple belongs to Cambodia, but 4.6 square kilometres of land surrounding the ruins remains in dispute.

- AFP/yb

1 comment:

Jorge said...

Hola amigo: quería invitarte que visites el blog que estoy realizando con mis alumnos de segundo año de la secundaria sobre LA DISCRIMINACIÓN.
Tema arduo e interesante.
Seguro será de tu agrado.
Tu aporte será valioso
Un abrazo desde la Argentina.