ID :
Thu, 08/14/2008 - 10:28
Auther :

Thailand, Cambodia agree to reduce troops at temple

SURIN, Aug 13 (TNA) -- In an attempt to reduce tensions at their common border over a disputed temple ruin, Thailand and Cambodia on Wednesday agreed to reduce the number of their military personnel guarding the site.

The agreement was reached following a meeting between Lt-Gen. Suchit Sitthiprapa, Thailand's Second Army commander, responsible for security affairs in northeastern Thailand, and Cambodian Deputy Defence MinisterGen. Neang Paht at a hotel in Surin province bordering Cambodia.

Both sides agreed at the meeting to reduce the number of armed forces personnel guarding Ta Muen Thom ruin which sits on Surin's Phanom Dong Rakborder district which Cambodia argues is in its Uddor Meanchey province.

Thailand and Cambodia also agreed to open the barbed wire installed at the ruin early Thursday so that military and the residents of both countries could communicate with each other and visit Ta Muen Thom ruin. Thais will also be allowed to visit another ruin which is about a kilometre deeperinside Cambodia.

Both countries agreed to hold another meeting next Monday in the Thairesort town of Hua Hin.

Tensions in the area heightened after Gen. Boonsang Niempradit, Thai supreme commander, on August 4 asked Cambodia to withdraw its soldiersfrom the temple environs.

The demarcation boundary between the two countries has not yet beensettled by the Thailand-Cambodia General Border Committee (GBC).

A Thai foreign ministry spokesman has said the Ta Muen Thom ruin is only one of a number of sites along the unclear boundary between the two countries. Thailand is trying to conduct its actions under the framework of the GBC, he said, and the temple problem should also be discussed underthat mechanism.