CAMBODIAN and Thai officials began a fresh round of border talks Monday in Siem Reap, with Cambodian delegates saying that a "big step" had been made in hammering out an agenda to resolve the standoff over contested land that erupted in violence last month, killing four.
"We have moved forward with a big step in resolving the border issue," said Var Kimhong, head of Cambodia's border committee.
He added that the two countries would make it a priority to demarcate territory around the 11th-century temple as soon as it is cleared of land mines.
"We have also agreed to determine the location that needs to be measured in area around Preah Vihear temple," he said.
Koy Kuong, undersecretary of state at the Foreign Ministry, said earlier he was confident the talks would lead to a decision on the disputed border around the temple.
"The border issue will be resolved step-by-step," he said. The three-day talks will end Wednesday with a meeting between the two foreign ministers in the latest bid to resolve tensions that erupted after Unesco designated Preah Vihear a World Heritage site in July.
Resolve issue for good: RCAF
RCAF General Chea Saran, said Monday that while the situation was a lot more "normal" than before, leaders should try to reach a permanent solution.
"It is getting better now, but we hope the problem gets solved by top leaders," he said. "If they [Thai soldiers] withdraw ... things will return to normal for good."
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP