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Temple tension eases at talks

Temple tension eases at talks

HUA HIN, Thailand - Tensions over Preah Vihear temple have eased, a Thai foreign ministry spokesman said Tuesday, as foreign ministers from the two countries met for a second round of talks aimed at diffusing the month-old military standoff.

"The situation is moving in a positive manner. The tension is now being cooled down," Tharit Charungvat told reporters as the Thai and Cambodian foreign ministers began meeting in the Thai beach resort town of Hua Hin, southwest of Bangkok.

Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and his Thai counterpart Tej Bunnag met for dinner late Monday in Hua Hin, and held talks through the day Tuesday.

"The situation has improved quite a lot in regards to the standoff between the militaries from both sides," Tharit said.

"The tension around the area has been eased. We hope very much that the situation will go back to normal as soon as possible."

Relations between the neighbours flared up last month after Preah Vihear temple was given UNESCO World Heritage status by the UN. On July 15, Cambodia arrested three Thai protesters for illegally crossing the border to try to reach the temple, sparking the deployment of troops from both sides on the tiny patch of disputed land near Preah Vihear.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the Preah Vihear temple belongs to Cambodia, but surrounding land remains in dispute.

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