What's in a name?
Tensions over the long-disputed border territory flared in July last year after Cambodia was allowed to unilaterally list Preah Vihear temple as a United Nations World Heritage site. Subsequent talks between Cambodia and Thailand have not led to a resolution of the dispute. The last set of talks ended Wednesday in Bangkok with negotiators unable to agree on a common spelling for the temple’s name.
CAMBODIAN and Thai military officials meeting in Phnom Penh on Friday failed to broker a deal on withdrawing troops from the disputed border area, but continued to advance a line of cooperation between the sides.
"[We] have agreed to push all existing Cambodian and Thai committees to work together fully in order to resolve the remaining issues effectively," Defence Minister Tea Banh told reporters after meeting with his counterpart Prawit Wongsuwon, while revealing no concrete signs of progress.
The pair later met with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong.
Keeping in touch
Hun Sen told reporters outside the Foreign Affairs Ministry that he recommended both sides "meet frequently to cooperate with each other in order to avoid armed clashes".
Firefights broke out in the area in October, leaving three Cambodian soldiers and one Thai soldier dead.
While he made no announcement of progress, Hun Sen pledged there would be no more "military confrontations" between the two countries and approved of the idea of a military withdrawal from hotly disputed Preah Vihear temple.
Currently, about forty troops from each side are stationed around the 11th-century religious site.
Hun Sen is expected to discuss border demarcation with Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva at the upcoming Asean summit scheduled for February 27 to March 1 in the Thai coastal resort town of Hua Hin.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING AFP