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FMs agree to scale back troops

Demarcation of Thai-Cambodian border to begin early next month

CAMBODIA and Thailand agreed Monday to scale back the remaining troops stationed at Preah Vihear temple and to allow a joint team to demarcate the contested area in early February, senior officials said.

Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said he and his Thai counterpart, Kasit Piromya, agreed during a meeting Monday that the Joint Border Commission (JBC) will begin to demarcate the area near Preah Vihear temple at some point between February 2 and February 4. The foreign ministers will meet again February 6 to discuss withdrawing troops from the area.

"Thailand is willing to solve the border issue ... land and also the sea border," Hor Namhong told reporters at a Monday press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Hor Namhong said a joint technical working group charged with demarcating the sea border between the two countries will be established in March or earlier, depending on when the Thai Cabinet approves the head of its side of the working group.   

The meeting on Monday was part of a two-day official visit by Kasit Piromya to Cambodia, during which he was to meet with King Norodom Sihamoni, Senate President Chea Sim, National Assembly President Heng Samrin, Prime Minister Hun Sen and Hor Namhong.

"The discussion between Kasit and me was good," Prime Minster Hun Sen told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after his meeting Monday, adding that he had received a letter from Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva supporting his suggestion they use the forthcoming summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, scheduled to be held from February 27 to March 1 in Hua Hin, Thailand, to have bilateral discussions on the border issue. 

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