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Meet to set border agenda

Meet to set border agenda

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A Buddhist monk looks through a window at the Preah Vihear temple as Cambodian soldiers pass the time near the border between Thailand and Cambodia in February.

Senior military offic-ials at the Secretariat of the General Border Committee are scheduled to meet next week in Phnom Penh, as preparations are made for high-level border talks between Cambodia and Thailand.

Thai defence minister Yutthasak Sasiprapa is reportedly also planning a visit to the Cambodian capital to discuss the deployment of Indones-ian observers to monitor the border area near Preah Vihear temple, following deadly clashes earlier this year.

Chhum Socheat, spokesman at Cambodia’s Ministry of Defence said yesterday at least 50 senior military officials from the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and the Royal Thai Army would meet in Phnom Penh from September 6 to 8 to draft an agenda for the long-awaited GBC summit.

“The Secretariat of the GBC of Cambodia and Thailand are expected to approve documents as an agenda for the GBC summit. After that we will arrange the exact date to invite Yutthasak to attend the summit,” Chum Socheat said.

He said that Yutthasak had already been invited by his counterpart defence minister Tea Banh for a courtesy visit to take place at the same time as the GBC summit.

Yutthasak was reported as saying on Monday that he would take up an invitation from Tea Banh to visit for informal talks.

Although no time frame was set for the visit, during which he will reportedly visit Prime Minister Hun Sen, he indicated it would take place before the long-delayed GBC.

“We will discuss adjustments to the deployment of combat units and arrangements for [Indonesian] observers, in preparation for the GBC meeting,” the Bangkok Post quoted Yutthasak as saying.
Thai foreign ministry spokesman Thani Thongpakdee could not be reached for comment.

Diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Thailand, which have warmed since the election of new Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in July, were again bolstered yesterday by a positive statement released by RCAF deputy commander Chea Tara.

“The conflict in the past was because of [former] Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s policy of walking into war, which served his own ambition,” the statement read. “Now there is a new government lead by Yingluck, and trust is being built for good relations.”

Seak Socheat, deputy commander of Cambodia’s battlefront region 3, added yesterday that about 1,500 troops in Brigade No 5 had pulled back from the area between the Ta Moan and Ta Krabey temples, both scenes of fierce fighting in April.

It is the latest in a series of military pullbacks since Yingluck’s election.

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