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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thai claims of land mine use on border ignored: Cambodia

Thai claims of land mine use on border ignored: Cambodia

Thailand has accused the Kingdom of violating an international mine ban

at a meeting on the Ottawa Convention, Cambodian delegates say

INTERNATIONAL delegates to an annual conference in Geneva on the global land mine ban have ignored  Thai accusations that the Cambodian military has planted fresh mines during recent tensions along the countries' disputed border, Cambodian officials said Thursday.

"The Thais firstly complained that Cambodia isn't following the convention banning land mines. Secondly, they accused Cambodia of planting new mines in the border area," said Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan.

According to the Cambodian delegation in Geneva, Phay Siphan said, the Thai complaints were ignored by the other meeting participants.

"The other members of the convention said nothing. They did not listen to them," he told the Post.

"They have understood we are people who want only to make peace. The Thais keep misleading the world."

Chan Rotha, deputy secretary general of the Cambodian Mine Action Authority, said, "The donor countries will not pay attention to the Thais' accusations because they already know through their representatives in Phnom Penh that we have not laid any new mines."

'A grave threat'

At least one Thai soldier has been killed and two others seriously wounded in a spate of land mine incidents that have occurred during the five-month military standoff on the border.

Following a blast that wounded two Thai troops on October 6, Thai Foreign Ministry officials accused Cambodia of laying new anti-personnel mines on Thai territory, calling it "a grave threat for the international community" and a violation of the 1997 mine ban treaty.

But Cambodian officials insist that the Thais stepped on mines left over from Cambodia's civil war in the 1980s and 1990s.

Furthermore, Phay Siphan said that since unexploded mines were only on the Cambodian side of the border, the blasts proved that the Thais had crossed into Cambodian territory.

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