Cambodian senior minister in charge of border affairs Var Kim Hong (R) shakes hands with Thai advisor to minister of Foreign Affairs and co-chairman of Thai Joint Commission on Demarcation for Land Boundary Vasin Teeravechayan (L) as they exchange documents during the special session of Cambodian-Thai Joint Commission on Demarcation for Land Boundary at Council of Ministers in Phnom Penh. (AFP/Tang Chhin Sothy)
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Cambodian and Thai negotiators said Tuesday they had made progress in efforts to resolve a border stand-off near an ancient temple which last week flared into deadly gunbattles.
Three Thai troops were killed following clashes on Friday between the neighbouring countries over disputed land around the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple, the deadliest fighting for six months in a long-running feud.
Border officials from Thailand and Cambodia on Monday began meetings aimed at resolving their competing territorial claims, part of a process launched after an earlier clash in October killed four soldiers.
"We have made a good success," Vasin Teeravechyan, chief Thai negotiator, told reporters at the conclusion of the two-day talks.
Negotiators said they would be able to make progress on demarcating the border near the temple when they had finished some technical work.
"We have signed on three documents which are basic documents that allow us to continue working on border demarcation," said Var Kimhong, the chairman of Cambodia's border committee.
But the two countries failed to reach agreement on the spelling of the temple in official documents.
The World Court gave ownership of the temple -- which Thailand calls Phra Viharn -- to Cambodia in 1962, but tensions flared last July when the cliff-top building was awarded United Nations World Heritage status.
The current dispute centres on five square kilometres of land around the temple which has yet to be officially demarcated. The most accessible entrance to the ruins is in Thailand.
The Cambodia-Thailand border has never been fully demarcated, in part because it is littered with landmines left over from decades of civil war in Cambodia.
Cambodian and Thai military officials have also met several times over the past few days to prevent fresh fighting.