04/27/2011, 00.00
CAMBODIA-THAILAND

Clashes on border between Cambodia and Thailand. Bangkok calls off dialogue

This morning the two armies started to shoot in the Ta Moan and Ta Krabey temples area. The dividing line between the two countries is not clearly defined, and is the subject of dispute. An unsuccessful attempt by Indonesia to mediate is called off. The conflict has caused 14 deaths and thousands displaced.

Bangkok (AsiaNews / Agencies) - This morning fighting between the Thai and Cambodian armies flared, in a conflict that since last week has caused 14 victims. The fighting with heavy artillery resumed at 5 am local time and continued for several hours n the border area near the temples of Ta Moan and Ta Krabey. A spokesman for the Thai army denounced the death of a village resident yesterday, during rocket fire.

Cambodia and Thailand are accusing each other of having started hostilities. Thailand has cancelled a series of meetings at the ministerial level to resolve the dispute. Col. Sunsern Kaewkumnerd, army spokesman, says that his country decided "last night to cancel the trip of Gen. Parwit (Minister of Defence. Ndr) to Phnom Penh." The reason: some Cambodian media claim that Thailand was ready to negotiate a cease-fire and had admitted "to being defeated and having suffered losses."

Some areas of the border between Thailand and Cambodia are not clearly defined, and are the cause of tension and sporadic clashes, often linked to moments of tension in the internal politics of both countries. Three years ago there were clashes at the border in Cambodia, while preparing for the elections. In the coming weeks, the Thai government will announce a new election.

The points of conflict are the two temples mentioned above, in the jungle, in an area claimed by both sides, and another temple, about 160 km away, Preah Vihear. Thousands of villagers have fled their homes. An attempt at mediation made by the Chairman of ASEAN, the Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, has not been successful because of Thailand’s opposition. The project involves the presence of a peacekeeping force on the Indonesian border.

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