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Thai, Cambodian army officers hold talks after border gunfire [-Thai troops deliberately provoking Cambodian soldiers?]

Written By vibykhmer on Friday, April 3, 2009 | 3:43 AM

BANGKOK, April 3 (Xinhua) -- Local-level Thai army officers were in the process to hold talk with those of Cambodian army officers after the two sides exchanged gunfire briefly early Friday morning on a disputed border area, Thai army spokesman Colonel Sansern Khaewkamnerd said.
The exchange of gunfire occurred after Thai soldiers went to tell around 20 Cambodian soldiers, who were at Tramareu area that Tramareu [Veal Entry in Khmer] belongs to Thailand, so they should not have entered, the Thai army spokesman told Xinhua during a telephone interview.

After the two sides separated from their meeting at Tramareu area, it was the Cambodian side that started opening fire, said the Thai army spokesman.

After the Thai soldiers did hear the shooting from the Cambodian side, they did fire back, said Colonel Sansern.

Meanhwile, Phay Siphan, Cambodian spokesman of the Council of Ministers, said the crossfire occurred around 07:15 local time (0015GMT), after a number of Thai soldiers trespassed on the Eagle Field, a piece of Cambodian soil.

According to a report by the website of Thai-language newspaper Thai Rath, the Cambodian soldiers claimed the shooting from their side was the accident.

By mid-Friday there was no report of casualty from the two sides.

On Thursday a Thai soldier during his patrol task stepped on a landmine and lost a leg at Tramareu area, and it was suspected that the landmine was planted by the Cambodian soldiers, Colonel Sansern said.

Tramareu area, which is around one kilometer from Preah Vihear temple, is in Kantalak district of Thailand's northeastern province of Sisaket, according to the Thai army spokesman.

In July last year, the tension over the long-disputed territory of the two countries started after the 11th century Preah Vihear temple at the border was granted UNESCO World Heritage status.

The two countries' troops clashed in the area in October and four soldiers died. The border dispute has not been resolved during subsequent talks by the two countries.

The two neighboring countries have never fully demarcated their disputed border, due partly to landmines left over from decades of war in Cambodia.


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