Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Border talks off, standoff to continue

Border talks off, standoff to continue

Border talks off, standoff to continue

Hopes for quick withdrawal of Thai troops dashed

CAMBODIAN officials said Thursday that the postponement of border talks with Thailand would delay the withdrawal of Thai troops from around Cambodian temples, pushing the military standoff over disputed territory deeper into stalemate.

The meeting, which was to be held today in Siem Reap, was abruptly cancelled by the Thai side Wednesday, said Neang Phat, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Defence.

Neang Phat said the cancellation came as a surprise. "I was told on Wednesday afternoon that the meeting was cancelled," he said.

"They did not give us a reason, but we think it has something to do with their current internal political problems," he added, saying that the meeting has not yet been rescheduled.

"The cancellation means that Thai soldiers will remain in our territory," Var Kimhong, chairman of the Joint Border Committee, told the Post Thursday.

"We are focusing on the withdrawal of all Thai armed forces, and we want them out as soon as possible," he added.

Council of Ministry spokesman Phay Siphan said his Thai counterparts informed him that they were busy and unable to attend today's meeting, scheduled as a follow-up to last month's negotiations between Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and his Thai counterpart in the Thai resort town of Hua Hin.

"I don't think the dispute at Preah Vihear temple will become a shooting war," Phay Siphan added. "The temple is a tourist destination. The situation there remains normal, and we have no need to face off militarily."

However, he said that the postponement is regrettable.

"I was sorry to hear of it," he said. "We wanted a fast resolution to the dispute. But as long as both sides show good will, we have a chance for good results."

He said he has received no official information about when the meeting will be rescheduled.

Tim Sareth, deputy chief of the Cambodia-Thailand border relations office, said he is working to reschedule the talks. "We know they are having serious problems with demonstrations, so they need to resolve these issues first," Tim Sareth said.

Soldiers from both sides remain deployed at the flashpoint Preah Vihear temple.

MOST VIEWED

  • Serious flooding across country

    The Kampong Speu provincial Committee for Disaster Management on Wednesday issued an alert after non-stop heavy rain caused widespread flooding. In Koh Kong province, authorities are working with the disaster committee and the Cambodian Red Cross to assist those affected after more than 350 homes were

  • CNRP points to King in call for vote boycott

    Leaders of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have taken a new tack in their call for a boycott of the national elections later this month. They are now claiming that the people should follow the King, who is expected to abide by tradition

  • Actress’s NGO takes heat for promoting the ruling party

    An actress’s NGO which participated in an election campaign event contrary to the Law on Association and Non-Governmental Organisations (Lango) has been slammed. Chorn Chanleakena, a celebrity and the president of the Association of Artists Volunteering to Help Society, allegedly led its members in

  • Troop moves ‘won’t worry people’

    Senior officials at the Ministry of Defence and National Police said on Tuesday that riot training provided to the country’s police forces were aimed at preventing unexpected demonstrations and strikes before and after the July 29 national elections. The troop mobilisation, they said, would not