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Sunday, 15 August 2010

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Cambodia seeks help to avoid 'armed conflict' in border spat

PHNOM PENH, Aug 14, AFP - Cambodia's foreign minister on Saturday sought regional help in resolving a border dispute with Thailand in order "to avoid any large scale armed conflict".

In a letter to his Vietnamese counterpart and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Hor Namhong said the two countries would not be able to reach a deal without outside support. "As the current stalemate has extinguished any hope of further bilateral negotiations and in order to avoid any large scale armed conflict... I earnestly seek assistance," he said in the letter. The two countries have stepped up a war of words over the spat recently, with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen warning it could lead to fresh bloodshed.

Meanwhile Thai premier Abhisit Vejjajiva Tuesday called for Cambodian citizens to leave the contested territory.

The World Court ruled in 1962 that the temple belonged to Cambodia, although its main entrance lies in Thailand. The exact boundary through the surrounding grounds remains in dispute, with occasional gunfights claiming several lives.

Troops from both countries exchanged fire briefly on their border in June, the latest in a series of clashes between the neighbours.

The Thai-Cambodia border has never been fully demarcated, partly because it is littered with landmines left over from decades of war in Cambodia.

 

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