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Thailand says sorry for mortar shell landing in Cambodia

Written By vibykhmer on Friday, February 20, 2009 | 7:30 AM


PHNOM PENH, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- Thailand on Friday sent a letter to Cambodia to apologize for the wrong shooting of mortar shell into Cambodian land on Feb. 17, according to a press release from the Cambodian foreign ministry.

"I am writing to express to you my sincerest apology for the unfortunate incident that took place on Feb. 17, 2009," said Anupong Paojinda, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army, in the letter."The mortar shell that landed in the Kingdom of Cambodia was a result of the miscalculation during one of our training exercises. We have since launched a full investigation into the incident," he said.

"Please be assured that the Royal Thai Army has been strictly following the Kingdom of Thailand's policy to maintain peaceful and cordial relationship with all our neighbors. I would like to reassure you that we will use all means to prevent such an incident from happening again in the future," he added.

According to the press release from the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the letter was addressed to Meas Sophea, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF).

Also on Friday, English-language daily newspaper the Phnom Penh Post quoted a RCAF military commander based in the border region as saying that in this week's incident the shells landed two kilometers inside the Cambodian territory.

The 81mm and 106mm shells came down near the Ta Krabey temple and the Bos Thom village, 6 shells exploded in the forest, another2 failed to go off, no one was injured, and no property was damaged, the commander said in condition of anonymity.

Tension between Thailand and Cambodia ratcheted higher in 2008 when troops from both countries clashed at the Preah Vihear temple and soldiers on both sides died in fighting in October, before an uneasy peace was restored.

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