Gov’t Begins Work on Military Facility Near Ta Moan Temple

RCAF Deputy Commander in Chief Kun Kim on Tuesday broke ground on a 16-building military facility in Oddar Meanchey pro­vince just 6 km from the disputed Ta Moan temple complex on the Thai border, officials said.

This is the second new military facility that the government has be­gun work on in less than a week, with Kun Kim breaking ground Friday on a 17-building military facility 20 km from Preah Vihear temple.

Prime Minister Hun Sen is personally funding both $400,000 facilities, said RCAF Region 4 Deputy Commander Nark Vong.

Both headquarters “will be completed in six months,” he said by telephone Tuesday after attending the groundbreaking.

Nark Vong said the military standoff at Ta Moan temple remains stable, although he added that an undisclosed number of Thai troops recently amassed 11 km east along the border near Thailand’s Ta Kra­bey temple.

Also along the Oddar Meanchey border, in Choup Kaki village, 12 Thai troops have remained camped in a disputed border area since Sept 2, village border police chief Khat Sok Koeun said Tuesday.

“My troops and I tried to pa­trol…on Monday, and Thai troops stopped us. They did not let my troops and I go where we usually patrol,” he said by telephone.

No more meetings between Thai and Cambodian military leaders to discuss the border standoffs at Ta Moan or Preah Vihear have been scheduled since an Aug 29 meeting between foreign ministers was canceled, Defense Ministry Secretary of State Neang Phat said Tuesday.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said that bilateral negotiations might resume in October.

However, RCAF deputy commander for Preah Vihear province, Colonel Som Bopharoath, said that future negotiations would be less important than previous negotiations, as military leaders have al­ready agreed to stop sending troops to the temple and to keep all but 20 troops away from Preah Vihear’s pagoda.

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