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    » 07/19/2012, 00.00


    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    Preah Vihear (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Cambodia and Thailand have withdrawn their troops from a disputed border area situated near the temple of Preah Vihear.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 through Cambodia.

    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 the site.


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    See also

    26/01/2011 THAILAND - CAMBODIA
    Preah Vihear: "Yellow Shirts" against the Thai government, weak on border issue
    Nationalists and Pad take to the streets, threatening a permanent siege. The protesters call for the withdrawal of the Memorandum of Understanding with Cambodia and the release of seven people on trial in Phnom Penh. Provocative billboards and military exercises raise tensions between the two countries.

    17/10/2008 THAILAND – CAMBODIA
    Tenuous truce between Thailand and Cambodia along border
    Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen appeals for dialogue, but military tensions remain high. A patch or border land near the Preah Vihear Temple is at the centre of their dispute. Thailand’s political crisis shows no signs of abating amidst fears of another military coup.

    14/10/2008 CAMBODIA – THAILAND
    Phnom Penh announces Thai pullout, Bangkok denies
    Both sides issue statements and denials with regards to disputed border area. Cambodians claim Thais pulled back; Thais reject claim. For decades the Preah Vihear Temple, a UNESCO world heritage site, has been at the core of a dispute between the two neighbours.

    11/11/2013 CAMBODIA - THAILAND
    Preah Vihear: Phnom Penh gets sovereignty over temple area
    The International Court of Justice rules Cambodia owns the land that has been the source of a long-standing dispute with Thailand, and calls on Bangkok to withdraw its troops. In the past, soldiers from the two sides have clashed with scores of dead and wounded. Thai nationalist groups reject the ruling.

    28/07/2010 THAILAND – CAMBODIA
    Bangkok and Phnom Penh again at loggerheads over Preah Vihear
    Cambodia plans to use the 34th session of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee to present its management plan for the Preah Vihear Temple, an area Thailand considers its own. Yesterday, a thousand Thais protested against the UNESCO in front of its offices in Bangkok. Thailand’s prime minister complains that the “world-heritage inscription often turns tourist zones into areas of conflict”.

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