Fresh Temple Row Embarks With Deadline From Cambodian

PM Hun Sen set deadline for Thai troops to be withdrew from 4.6 square km. dispute area around Phra Vihear Temple. PM Hun Sen said if Thai troops fail to withdraw on 12.00 of 14 Oct 2008 the border will become a “life and death battle zone”.

However, Commander in chief of RTA Gen Anupong Paochinda and PM Somchai Wongsawa called their officers for emergency meeting and FM Sompong Wongsawat said on 10.00 that Thailand will not withdraw troops from dispute area, claiming that the aera around Phra Vihear is Thai territory and Thailand will not move out from our own house. Government and armed force were met in the top meeting section on 14.00.

But with the time nearly approched the dead line. Cambodian FM said Thai troops has already withdrew from that area and the situation went to normal, contradicted with the press interview from PM Somchai, RTA Spokeman, and FM Sompong on 14.30 that Thailand will not withdraw troops from that area and Thailand firmly believe on the peaceful bilateral talk. Also, Thailand will not invades the other country but reserves the right to protect itself.

War threat
By Thanida Tansubhapol and Wassana Nanuam

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered fresh troops to the border with an ultimatum to Thailand: Pull military forces back today or the border will become a “life and death battle zone”.

Hun Sen told reporters in Phnom Penh that he had warned Thailand’s visiting Foreign Minister Sompong Amornvivat that without a quick pullout, Thai soldiers could face being fired upon by Cambodian troops in “large-scale armed conflict”.

“If they cannot withdraw tonight, they must withdraw tomorrow,” said Hun Sen.

“We have tried to be patient, but I told the Thai foreign minister today that the area is a life-and-death battle zone.”

His comments came after talks with Mr Sompong in Phnom Penh.

Mr Sompong also met with his counterpart Hor Namhong in a bid to resolve the dispute over the area near the ancient Preah Vihear temple.

The Cambodian foreign minister said yesterday’s talks failed to end in agreement because his Thai opposite number “could not sign anything”.

Hun Sen and Hor Namhong both told reporters that Cambodia could choose to take the border dispute before an international court if it was not resolved soon.

The comments made by the Cambodian prime minister and foreign minister surprised Mr Sompong and Thai officials, who were adamant that the meetings had not been a failure.

Mr Sompong said the tone during the meetings between the two countries had been different as the Cambodian leaders agreed that both sides had to be patient in resolving the border spat.

He said no Thai troop withdrawals would be made from the 4.6 sq km overlapping area between Kantharalak district in Si Sa Ket and Preah Vihear province of Cambodia until the dispute over ownership is cleared through negotiations in the Joint Boundary Commission that was set up to demarcate the land border.

Thailand reiterated its ownership over the area, Mr Sompong said in Bangkok and rushed to report the talks to Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat.

Suranaree Task Force commander Maj-Gen Kanok Netrakavaesana will hold talks with his Cambodian counterpart tomorrow on the border issues and the Thai and Cambodian defence ministers will meet next Tuesday , according to Mr Sompong.

Cambodian Deputy Defence Minister Gen Neang Phat said more Cambodian troops were heading to the area after up to 500 Thai soldiers had tried to cross the border near an ancient Hindu temple that is claimed by both countries.

“We are building up our troops at the border in response to Thailand, but I cannot reveal the number,” he told reporters.

Maj-Gen Srey Deok, who oversees the Cambodian military in the disputed area, said: “Thai troops have already entered the area. They are confronting our troops.”

But Maj-Gen Kanok denied that more troops had been sent to the disputed area near the Preah Vihear temple.

Thailand and Cambodia have 10 soldiers each at the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara pagoda near the Preah Vihear temple and 45 around the compound on joint patrol, according to the agreement between the two countries to ease border tension.

The two countries also have back-up troops near the border.

The number of soldiers there remained unchanged, Maj-Gen Kanok said.

Maj-Gen Kanok slammed Cambodia for distorting information and taking advantage of the political crisis in Thailand to launch an offensive move for its own political benefit.

The Suranaree chief, his patience wearing thin, called for a quick solution to the border spat and a clear direction to be provided by the government as it could become an armed conflict if it was left unsettled.

“I want the government to solve this problem and make it clear what to do. If it is left this way, nobody knows what is going to happen,” he said.

Tensions between Thailand and Cambodia first flared in July after the Preah Vihear temple was awarded World Heritage status by the World Heritage Committee.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the temple belongs to Cambodia, but the surrounding land remains in dispute.

ensions escalated into a military confrontation in which up to 1,000 Cambodian and Thai troops faced off for six weeks.

The two countries have swapped accusations of violating each other’s territory in the dispute.

(with Agency reports)

http://www.bangkokpost.com/topstorie….php?id=131403

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Anupong, PM call urgent meetings on border row

Quote:

Emergency Meeting!!! /posttoday.com

(BangkokPost.com) – The Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army, Gen Anupong Paochinda, on Tuesday morning held an urgent meeting with relevant army officials to discuss the deepening border row between Thailand and Cambodia. The meeting was held at the Royal Thai Army Headquarters.

Prime Minister and Defence Minister Somchai Wongsawat, meanwhile, called another urgent meeting with armed force commanders and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to assess the situation after Cambodia told Thailand to withdraw troops from the disputed border area before noon Tuesday.

On Monday, the Cambodian authority said a “large-scale” armed conflict may happen, if the Thai troops fail to be withdrawn from the border area near the ancient temple of Preah Vihear immediately.

In the meantime at Khao Phra Wihan (Preah Vihear) National Park, many Cambodian soldiers with full arms were dispatched near the temple and most of them were former troops of Khmer Rouge who were very familiar with the border surroundings and environment.

Thai armed forces consequently had tightened security around the national park.

However, the Commander of the Second Army Region, Lt-Gen Wiboonsak Neeparn, on Tuesday morning claimed that the situation at Preah Vihear had returned to normal, as troops from both sides engaged in more talks and shared a better understanding.

The Thai soldiers will do their best to protect the country’s sovereignty, Lt-Gen Wiboonsak added.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/breaking_….php?id=131405

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UPDATE

Somchai says Thailand cannot pull out troops now

Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat said Tuesday that Thailand could not pull out troops from the disputed border area near Preah Vihear temple as demanded by Cambodian Prime Minister Hunsen now.

Somchai said the joint committee of the two countries needed to reach an agreement on how to carry out the pullout first before it could be done.

Hunsen threatened to go for a full war if Thailand did not pull out the troops from the disputed border by noon Tuesday.

Somchai said the armed forces’ commanders were discussing the issue and he would summon all agencies concerned to consult on the matter at 2 pm.

The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/brea…ewsid=30085994

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MORE UPDATE

THAI-KHMER BORDER TENSION
Thailand will act in self – defence : Cambodia told

By The Nation

If Cambodia resorts to use of force, Thailand will have to exercise its right of self-defence as provided under the Charter of the United Nations : Thai FM

Tensions along Thai and Cambodian border have flared up again on Tuesday after Thailand refused to follow Cambodia’s threat to withdraw its troops from an area near Preah Vihear Temple.

Thai Foreign Ministry’s statement said, “”If Cambodia does resort to the use of force in accordance with its so-called ultimatum, Thailand will have to exercise its right of self-defence as provided under the Charter of the United Nations.”

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen issued the ultimatum on Monday, saying Bangkok could face large-scale conflict if Thailand failed to abide by his threat.

He issued the threat after Thai Foreign Minister Sompong Wongsawat met with his Cambodian counterpart Hor Nam Hong in a border meeting in Phnom Penh on Monday. “The Veal Intry area is the dead or alive point for us “The situation at the Veal Intry area is too hot. They have to remove tonight or tomorrow. If they don’t remove from the Veal Intry area, war will be waged,” he said.

Meanwhile Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat on Tuesday chaired an urgent meeting to discuss about the matters Cambodia’s threat to start war if Thailand did not evacuate its troops from an area near the Preah Vihear Temple.

Somchai reiterated that it is not possible for the Thai troops to withdraw from the area. “It is like you are asked to retreat from your own house,” he said.

Thai premier quoted Sompong as saying that he was surprised that Hun Sen made such a threat after the meeting. “During the meeting, Prime Minister Hun Sen seemed to have no problems on the matters. It was surprising that he came out of the meeting room to say that,” Sompong said.

Sompong told the meeting in Phnom Penh that Thailand will not have any problem to withdraw if Cambodia did the same to avoid any confrontation.

Asked whether he will telephone Hun Sen about the issue, Somchai said he will look into details and surrounding circumstances before deciding the next step.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2008…l_30086010.php

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Press Release from Ministry of Foreign Affair
Thailand’s Reaction to Remarks by Cambodian Prime Minister

October 14, 2008

In response to questions from the media, Mr. Tharit Charungvat, Director-General of the Department of Information and Foreign Ministry Spokesman, said that Thailand is surprised by the remarks by the Prime Minister of Cambodia issuing an ultimatum to Thailand to move its military personnel out of the area adjacent to the Temple of Phra Viharn and threatening the use of force, which runs counter to the spirit of neighbourliness and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), especially between fellow ASEAN member countries. This is also contradictory to international norms of settling bilateral issues through peaceful means as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.

Thailand has always tried to resolve its boundary issues with Cambodia peacefully through bilateral negotiations which have achieved satisfactory progress thus far. In this connection, the military of both sides have agreed to convene a special meeting of the Regional Border Committee (RBC) on 21 October 2008, which will be preceded by a meeting at the working level of the RBC on 15 October 2008.

In the meantime, in accordance with its obligations under the Ottawa Mine Ban Convention, Thailand has had to undertake de-mining efforts in the area adjacent to the Temple of Phra Viharn – an area which will be surveyed and demarcated by the Thai-Cambodian Joint Commission on Demarcation for Land Boundary (JBC), set up under the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries in the year 2000. De-mining there is a necessary and urgent issue so as to ensure the safety of people and military personnel who pass through the area. The urgency of this issue was again underscored when two Thai para-military rangers lost their legs after stepping on landmines in the area on 6 October 2008 in the Thai territory in accordance with Siam-France Treaty of 1904. We are now also conducting investigations to verify whether the landmines in the area are old mines or recently deployed in violation of the Ottawa Mine Ban Convention.

If Cambodia does resort to the use of force in accordance with its so-called ultimatum, Thailand will have to exercise its right of self-defence as provided for under the Charter of the United Nations, in order to protect our de-mining personnel and Thailand’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Thailand has always called for and remains committed to resolving its boundary issues with Cambodia peacefully through bilateral consultations under the many frameworks already in place. Indeed, as agreed upon by the Foreign Ministers of both Thailand and Cambodia at their meetings in Siem Reap and Cha-am on 28 July 2008 and 19 August 2008, respectively, both countries have committed themselves to exercise utmost restraint to avoid the possibility of armed confrontation. This was reiterated by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sompong Amornvivat to the Cambodian side during his visit there on 13 October 2008. Thailand has strictly observed our said commitments and expects Cambodia to do the same.

http://www.mfa.go.th/web/2642.php?id=26868

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