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Cambodia accepts military observers

Cambodia accepts military observers

Cambodia has accepted terms of reference for unarmed Indonesian military observers to watch over a ceasefire along the Preah Vihear border area and now awaits a response from Thailand.

“We have clearly stated in the terms of reference letter that in the case of a Thai objection, Cambodia will receive Indonesian observers alone,” said Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“We don’t know about the Thai side but our stance is that we have completely agreed to the terms of reference.”

After four days of fighting early last month left at least 10 dead, dozens injured and thousands temporarily displaced on both sides, Cambodia and Thailand agreed at an informal meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers on February 22 in Jakarta to allow Indonesian military observers to monitor a ceasefire.

The 30 observers, 15 in each country, will report to both ASEAN and the United Nations Security Council, which has called for a permanent ceasefire.

Marty Natalegawa, the Indonesian Foreign Minister, sent Phnom Penh and Bangkok the terms of reference last week.

Veerachon Sukondhadhpatipak, deputy spokesman of the Royal Thai Army, and Thani Thongphakdi, deputy spokesman for the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The Cambodian Ministry of Defence will lead a tour of the border area and the Preah Vihear temple tomorrow for military attachés from more than 10 embassies.

Although the move follows a similar event organised by Thailand, it has apparently annoyed at least some in the Thai army according to an unnamed military source quoted in the Bangkok Post.

Koy Kuong said there was no reason for the visit to increase tensions.

“Cambodia only brings those foreign military attachés to visit the border inside Cambodian territory, so there is not anything to cause tension,” he said.

“Thailand also brought foreign military attachés to visit the border recently, and Cambodia did not say it caused tension.”

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