(AP) - Logs are apparently still crossing the border from Cambodia into Thailand
despite a ban on the trade, a spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping operation said
"I understand there is some illegal movement across the border," spokesman
Eric Falt told reporters.
The ban on exports of whole logs, which went into effect Jan. 1, was imposed by the
Supreme National Council to prevent depletion of the country's forests. If successful,
it would deprive the Khmer Rouge of a huge source of revenue.
During the first three days of the logging ban, U.N. monitors observed 5,783 cubic
meters of logs and 968 logs being transported across the border, Falt reported on
In Bangkok, Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Sakthip Krairiksh said he had not yet
received any official reports of the ban being violated but did notice a foreign
news agency report that described hundreds of logs still crossing into Thailand from
"If there is any abuse, we will try to correct it," he said. The four Cambodian
factions that control areas of the country have the primary responsibility for enforcing
the ban, and U.N. officials at the borders are only watching to see if they are doing
so, Falt said.
Falt said U.N. officials were issuing written warnings to drivers of vehicles violating
the ban, but they "do not have the power to stand in front of a truck at the
border and make it stop."
U.N. peacekeepers are also hampered because they have not been allowed to set up
checkpoints in border areas controlled by the Khmer Rouge, which has refused to cooperate
with the U.N. peacekeeping operation.
The Khmer Rouge make huge profits from fees collected from Thai businessmen for rights
to log in Khmer Rouge-controlled areas in the west and north bordering Thailand.
Falt said Thai authorities were giving strong support in enforcing the ban. Thailand
has closed some trade passes along the 425-mile border with Cambodia, although it
is widely expected that logs will be smuggled across because of the huge profits
The U.N. Security Council also has called for an oil embargo against Khmer Rouge
areas to pressure the guerrillas to cooperate with the peace process.