Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Gun Fire on the Thai-Cambodian border

Thailand and Cambodia have failed to solve the border dispute near the ancient temple Preah Vihear. On Monday Hun Sen gave Thailand an ultimatum that the thai troops must withdraw within 24 hours reports Phnom Penh Post. Ten days earlier there where some shooting in the area which wounded one Cambodian and two Thai soldiers. The Post further reports that Hun Sen has said that the issue will be brought before the International Court of Justice in the Hague.

AP reports that Thai troops retreaded on Tuesday around one and a half hour before Hun Sen's deadline. According to AP the troops retreated to their camp half a mile from the disputed area. Hun Sen ordered Cambodia's army chiefs to take full responsibility over the area, adding that it is a "life-and-death battle zone". Thailand's Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat on the other hand ordered his army to "take care of the situation so there is no violence".

The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reports today, Wednesday about gun fire. Thai television has today showed images of military vehicles with tanks on their way to the border. The Thai minister of foreign affairs has told all Thai citizens to leave Cambodia immediately, adding that the government is ready to evacuate their citizens if necessary. According to a Cambodian officer it was the Thai army who started todays shooting. A Thai army employee confirms that a fight has broken out according to Dagens Nyheter.

Some facts about the conflict:
*Preah Vihear was built in the 11th och 12th century, and are dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.
*A commission settled 1904 that the temples should belong to Siam (Thailand), but on a map published in 1907 they were placed in the French protectorate of Cambodia.
*The temples got occupied by Thai military not long after Cambodian independence in 1954. The conflict was committed to the International Court.
*In 1962 the court found that the temples belonged to Cambodia.
*The temples were the Lon Nol-regime's last stronhold until the Khmer Rouge seized power in 1975.
*It was also in the temple area that the communist guerilla met governments negotiator 1998 for final capitulation in.
(Facts from TT)

Earlier blogposts about the conflict: New temple on the World Heritage list..., Temple talks on hold, Temple talks soon to start again and Temple talks continues today.

Other blogposts (in Swedish) about: , ,

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