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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Demarcation of border set for May: govt

Demarcation of border set for May: govt

AFTER two days of talks, the Thai-Cambodian Joint Border Commission (JBC) announced a new agreement to plant markers along the 805-km shared border in May in a move they say is independent of a recent eruption of fighting in Preah Vihear.

"Talking is talking, and fighting is fighting. It is separate," Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, told reporters during the talks.

He added, however, that following Friday's firefight, officials believed Thailand was moblising troops along the border, including tanks.  

Cambodia's top border negotiator, Var Kimhong, said after the border talks finished late Tuesday that the technical work of the border commission would start in May, with the commission aiming to demarcate and post markers from Choam Srangam to Ta Moan temple, both of which are located in Oddar Meanchey province.

"We will not drag this out, and we have arranged for a demining operation to clear the area before the [demarcation] teams move through,"

Var Kimhong said in a press conference after the talks wrapped up.

He added that a new working group would be posting markers in "priority areas" around the Preah Vihear temple, beginning in July.

The two-day meeting, which began Monday in Phnom Penh, was part of a process launched after an earlier clash in October in which four soldiers were killed. The last meeting of the Joint Commission, in Thailand, ended in February with the two neighbours failing to reach agreement on any of the key points.

"The meeting for these two days has been a success," said Vasin Teeravechyan, Thailand's co-chairman of the JBC. "We have started posting the markers, but more work needs to be done." He added that the Thai parliament will debate the issue soon and that foreign ministers from the two countries would meet to hammer out an agreement to allow solders currently stationed at Keo Sekha Kirisvara Pagoda in Preah Vihear to be withdrawn.

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