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Thailand approves talks over border

Thailand approves talks over border

BANGKOK - The Thai parliament has given the government the green light to launch talks with Cambodia aimed at settling a long-running border dispute that boiled over into violence, officials said Wednesday.

The next round of talks aimed at ending a military standoff on disputed land near the Preah Vihear temple will be held next month, after a border firefight on October 15 killed three Cambodians and one Thai.

"Parliament has granted the government two frameworks of negotiation," said Virachai Plasai, a foreign ministry official in charge of legal affairs.

"The two frameworks will allow the government to launch negotiations with Cambodia in order to solve the boundary and border issues," he told reporters.

Initial issues to be hammered out, beginning when the two sides meet from November 10 to 14, are the redeployment of troops on disputed territory near Preah Vihear and removing land mines from the area. In the longer term, Virachai said, the two countries would try to settle ownership of patches of contested border land.

Tensions between the neighbours flared in July when Preah Vihear was awarded UN World Heritage status, rekindling long-running tensions over ownership of the surrounding land. Two rounds of emergency talks after the clashes made little progress, with both sides only agreeing not to fire on each other again.
AFP

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