tbeng meanchey town, Preah Vihear province – Provincial officials have been invited by Thai authorities to negotiate with their Thai counterparts over the simmering dispute at Preah Vihear Temple, the province’s first deputy governor, Pall San, said Wednesday.
Pall San said he was contacted by Thailand on Wednesday and will attend the meeting with provincial Governor Preap Tann in the coming days.
“Since May 11 until [Wednesday] we had no negotiations with the Thais,” he said. “This is a good sign for both countries.”
Officials from RCAF’s Military Region 4 had asked Thai troops to withdraw from the area around the temple on Tuesday, but they declined.
Though an end to the dispute appears in sight, provincial officials and NGOs based in the province appealed on Wednesday for supplies and equipment to be sent to Cambodian troops based at the historic temple.
Cambodian troops were previously able to buy food from Thailand but are now unable to because the border has been closed for several days, Pall San said.
“I would like to appeal to humanitarian or other organizations to help provide noodles or food to the province and we will take it to the temples,” Pall San said.
“We need food for the soldiers, they have nothing,” he said. “The soldiers have not electricity. They are living according to nature.”
In contrast, the Thai soldiers on the opposite side of the border have electricity, good roads and well-built military posts, said Men Sara, Adhoc provincial coordinator.
Despite the hardships “their spirits are very high,” Men Sara said.
In the drowsy, spacious provincial capital Tbeng Meanchey, some residents said they were frightened by the border spat while other said it was merely cross-border posturing.
“I’m not worried by the Thais, it’s just a threat,” farmer Soeng Mouth said.