General Srey Doek (R) shakes hand with Thai General Kanok Netrakavaesana (L) at the Wat Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak pagoda, near Preah Vihear temple on 05 April 2009 (Photo: Savyouth, Radio Free Asia)
SI SA KET, April 5 (TNA) -- Two days after deadly clashes between Thai and Cambodian soldiers erupted near the ancient Preah Vihear temple, field commanders of the two neighbouring countries agreed Sunday to avoid future battle through talks.
Thailand’s Suranaree Task Force commander Maj-Gen. Kanok Netrakavaesana told a press conference that he had discussed with Cambodia’s local commander Lt-Gen. Srey Deok at a temple atop Preah Vihear earlier in the day, agreeing maintain tighter discipline over their field commanders to keep the peace in the temple vicinity.
If any problem arises in future, army commanders of both sides in the area will come to the negotiating table and find ways to solve the problem, Maj-Gen. Kanok said.
The latest clashes were purely “accidental” and both sides agreed to avoiding future clashes, he said.
The latest incident broke out last Friday when soldiers of the two countries clashed twice near the ancient temple. Two Thai soldiers and two Cambodian soldiers died in the fighting while nine Thai soldiers were wounded.
The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that Preah Vihear temple – called Khao Prah Viharn by Thais -- belongs to Cambodia, but the most practical entrance is from a mountain in Thailand, and both sides claim some of the same portions of surrounding territory.
On reports that Cambodian soldiers have moved six tanks to two villages near Preah Vihear which could be interpreted as reinforcing their troops in the area, Maj-Gen. Kanok said it was Cambodia’s concern, but the number of Thai troops in the area remained unchanged.
“Future problems can be settled through talks immediately,” he added, “because Thailand and Cambodia are friendly long time ago,” he added.