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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Loggers Defy U.N. Ban

Loggers Defy U.N. Ban

(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

Jan.4.

"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

Jan. 8.

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

northern Cambodia.

"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

involved.

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.

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