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14 May 2009

Thailand rejects Cambodia’s demand for border damages

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Thailand’s Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya dismissed Cambodia's compensation demand for damage to a market in front of Preah Viehar temple in a border skirmish in April, a Thai daily reported.

"We have to understand it was a military clash and there are rules of engagement for the fighting. We have already made clear the buildings are in Thai territory," Kasit was quoted as saying by the Nation.

In a report from AFP, Cambodia has demanded that Thailand pay more than two million dollars in compensation for damage caused by deadly border clashes last month, according to a diplomatic note seen Tuesday.

Seven Thai and Cambodian troops have been killed in recent months during sporadic outbursts of violence between the neighbouring countries on disputed land around the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple.

In the latest clashes on April 3, three Thai soldiers were killed and a Cambodian market next to the temple ruins was burned down when Thai forces fired rockets over the border.

"The attack with heavy weapons by Thai troops on Cambodian territory... caused much damage and set a Cambodian market ablaze," a diplomatic note sent to Thailand on Monday said.

The material losses to 319 families who had lost their livelihoods when the fire destroyed their market stalls amounted to more than 2.1 million dollars, it said.

"The Royal Government of Cambodia demands that the Royal Thai government take full responsibility for these damages caused by Thai soldiers and to appropriately compensate the above losses," it said.

Troops from the two countries have been locked in a border standoff since last July, when Thailand was angered by the cliff-top temple being given United Nations World Heritage status.

Ownership of the temple was awarded to Cambodia in 1962 but the two countries are in dispute over five square kilometres (two square miles) of land around it that has yet to be officially demarcated.


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