» 07/19/2012 10:03 CAMBODIA - THAILAND Cambodian and Thai soldiers withdraw troops from disputed Preah Vihear temple The soldiers were replaced by about 600 police officers of both nationalities. The event takes place after decades of battles that have cost dozens of lives. The area is considered a World Heritage site.
Preah Vihear (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Cambodia
have withdrawn their troops from a
disputed border area situated near the temple of Preah Vihear.
The event takes place after decades of conflict and fighting. The last such clash
occurred in April and claimed
18 dead. With a
ceremony attended by the military
authorities from both countries, about
485 Cambodian soldiers and an unknown number of Thai soldiers simultaneously loaded their weapons onto trucks in a demilitarized area
near the ancient temple.
The troops were replaced by about 600 policemen who
will take over service in the temple area near the border. In
part controlled by Phnom Pen, about 255
agents will take care of security in the temple and 100 patrol the
surrounding land. Bangkok instead
has deployed 300
border guards over the mountains surrounding the temple.
The border dispute between the two countries has been ongoing since 1962, when the International Court ruled control of the ruins of the Hindu temple
of Preah Vihear in favor of Cambodia.
The area where the temple stands is considered Cambodian
territory, but is surrounded by
steep cliffs covered with jungle that Thailand considers
its own. In addition, because of the morphology of the territory
the site is impossible to reach
After years of negotiations,
the dispute was rekindled in 2008 when
UNESCO decided to include the temple on the list of world heritage sites, requiring Bangkok
to allow access through
its borders. In recent years several clashes
occurred between the two armies deployed near