Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cambodia reinforces troops at Thai-Cambodian border: Thai army

Cambodia reinforced its troops at the border of northeastern Surin province after Thailand quitted the World Heritage Convention on Saturday, Thailand's Army Region 2 spokesman said on Monday.

Col Prawit Hookaew told local media that there was some redeployment and reinforcement of the neighboring country's troops along the border followed withdrawal of the country's membership of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Convention.

There is some arms training taking place, such as using grenade launcher and artillery on Cambodian side, said Col Prawit, while Thai troops remain on alert at the border and are strengthening their outposts.

The Thai army chief and the commander of Army Region 2 have instructed troops stationed along the border to exercise the utmost restraint, but to retaliate proportionally in case Cambodian troops attack, or start the fighting, according to the Army Region 2 Spokesman.

Col Prawit also urged local residents not to panic, assuring them that the army is on alert around the clock.

Thailand decided to pull out from the Convention as the World Heritage Committee (WHC) put the Phnom Penh-proposed management plan for the 11th-century Preah Vihear Temple on the meeting agenda during the 35th session of WHC in Paris. Thai government has insisted the WHC postpone consideration on the plan until the two neighbors finish demarcation.

The ancient temple has frequently been the flashpoint between the two countries and in the recent border clashes in February and April, at least over a score of soldiers were killed. Even though the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rewarded the temple to Cambodia, both countries have laid claims over the ownership of the 4.6 square-kilometer (1.8 square miles) scrub of land surrounding the ruins.


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