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Talks postponed, new round to be held in Siem Reap


October 20, 2008

Thai-Cambodia Border Dispute
Talks postponed, new round to be held in Siem Reap

Thai and Cambodian military officials have postponed talks aimed at calming a border dispute which recently escalated into a deadly shoot-out, AFP quoted officials from both sides as saying Sunday.

Senior army representatives had been due to meet on Tuesday in the Cambodian town of Siem Reap, but negotiations have been put off until later in the week.

"The regional border meeting scheduled on October 21 was postponed as the two countries are not yet ready," said Colonel Taweesak Boonrakchart, spokesman for Thailand's northeastern army division.

"On the Thai side, we have to get approval from parliament before the government can sign any pacts."

The talks would now be held on Thursday or Friday, still in Siem Reap, Taweesak told AFP.

Cambodia's deputy defence minister General Neang Phat said he expected the meeting to occur on Thursday morning.

Thai and Cambodian troops at the disputed border remained calm Sunday, and soldiers from both sides could be seen chatting with each other.

"The relations between our troops are better. We try to be calm here -- flexible, but strong," said Cambodian Colonel Som Bopharoath.

Two Cambodian soldiers were killed and seven Thai troops injured on Wednesday when a firefight erupted between soldiers stationed on disputed land near Cambodia's ancient Preah Vihear temple.

Emergency talks the day after ended with Cambodian and Thai officials agreeing to joint border patrols -- which have not started yet -- but offered no lasting solution to the military stand-off along the border.

Tensions between the neighbours flared in July when Preah Vihear was awarded United Nations World Heritage status, rekindling long-simmering tensions over ownership of land surrounding the ancient temple.

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