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Remove Buddha statue, commander requests

Remove Buddha statue, commander requests

A Cambodian military commander has requested Thailand remove a two-tonne Buddha statue placed in a demilitarised zone established in the disputed Preah Vihear border area by the United Nation’s highest court in July.

General Srey Doek, military commander of division 3, said he had requested Thailand remove the statue during a meeting with newly appointed counterpart Chhavalith Memoda on Monday near the Preah Vihear temple.

“Our Thai counterpart accepted the request and will submit it to their superior commanders,” he said, adding the statue was installed in October within their territory but inside the DMZ where military forces were not supposed to conduct such activities.

On July 18, the International Court of Justice ordered the two countries establish the DMZ in the Preah Vihear area and withdraw forces so independent Indonesian observers could be deployed.

General Srey Doek said no concrete steps had been made to withdraw Cambodian or Thai forces.

Siribunsot Sirisak, director of the Thai military’s Cambodia division, confirmed Chhavalith Memoda had agreed to remove the statue.  

In February and April, clashes in the area left 28 people dead and thousands displaced.

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