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Border negotiators meet in Bangkok

CAMBODIAN and Thai border negotiators resumed talks Tuesday in Bangkok in a bid to resolve the border standoff that last year boiled over into a military clash, officials said.

The last meeting of the Joint Border Commission in Siem Reap ended in November with the two neighbours failing to reach conclusive agreements on any of the key points.

Since then, a new Thai government has come to power, inheriting the long-standing territorial dispute over the land surrounding Cambodia's 11th-century Preah Vihear temple, where troops clashed in October, leaving four dead.

"I think the discussions will not run into any major obstacles," Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan told the Post Tuesday. "Both foreign ministers have already agreed in principle [how to proceed] since the meeting in Siem Reap." 

Thai and Cambodian officials on the commission agreed in principle last November to reduce the number of troops at the disputed border and to form a border task force, but there has been no concrete progress since then.

Phay Siphan said that the Bangkok meeting would focus on technical issues, such as how to find missing border markers and proceed with demarcation of the area around Preah Vihear temple.

The Joint Border Commission has so far found 48 border markers out of 73 along the two countries' 805-kilometre shared border.

Cambodia's top border negotiator, Var Kimhong, and an accompanying delegation departed for Thailand late Monday, saying before they left that they expected discussions to go well.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP

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