Thai, Cambodian Foreign Affairs Ministers To Meet Nov 12

Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong will meet with his Thai counterpart Sompong Amornvivat on Nov 12 in Siem Reap “in order to speed up the demarcation of the border in a reasonable time limit,” the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Sunday.

The ministerial meeting will follow a special meeting of the Thai-Cambodian Joint Border Commission on Nov 10 and 11, the statement said.

It will be the JBC’s first meeting as a fully operational commission after Thailand’s parliament approved its negotiating framework and after the Thai cabinet nominated Vasin Teeravechyan, former Thai ambassador to South Korea, as the chairman for its side of the commission.

The Foreign Affairs ministers have previously met on the border issue, but the Thai ministry said it could make no commitment until the legislature gave the green light. The Thai Parliament approved with an overwhelming majority Tuesday a mandate for the government to resolve in the short term a 16-week-long military standoff near the Preah Vihear temple and in the long term the demarcation of the contested Thai-Cambodian border.

“Cambodia hopes that through these successive meetings, both sides will be committed to achieve a peaceful and just solution to the border problem as soon as possible without any further delay,” the Foreign Affairs Ministry statement read.

Meanwhile at Preah Vihear temple, RCAF commanders received honors and promotions this week for their work in the border standoff, officials said Sunday.

“Ten RCAF commanders were decorated with a National Defense Medal for their achievements,” Preah Vihear Provincial Deputy Governor Sar Thavy said by telephone Sunday, adding that Srey Dek, the commander of the Preah Vihear temple operation, received another star, making him a three-star general.

Srey Dek confirmed Sunday that 10 commanders received the medals Friday from Kun Kim, RCAF deputy commander-in-chief.

Eleven RCAF commanders were also promoted, eight of whom received one more star, Srey Dek said.

He added that there had been accidental gunfire coming from the Thai side Saturday afternoon, but no one was injured.

Hang Soth, director-general of the Preah Vihear Authority, confirmed the accidental firing, which he said was common, and added some trees had been cut to build trenches along the border as the military standoff became more tense.

“Yes, some Thai troops cut trees for the trenches, but the cutting is not very extensive. It’s just around ten trees. We did it, too,” Hang Soth said. “We just do it in some important places, and now the tension is getting better.”

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