Thai soldiers have destroyed makeshift trenches and living quarters, and have withdrawn from the area of neutral territory between Cambodia and Thailand near Preah Vihear temple, officials said Sunday.
“They withdrew all of their troops and destroyed their military encampment entirely on Saturday,” Preah Vihear deputy governor Pall San said, adding he did not know what prompted the move.
However, he said he was still waiting for an order from the co-Ministers of Interior to reopen the border checkpoint between the two countries.
Pall San said that even though the Thai soldiers had withdrawn, he still plans to meet with Thai authorities to determine why the troops were deployed.
“I will insist that they bear responsibility because they created this problem and troubled the friendship between our two countries,” he said. “It is not us who caused it.”
The Thai Embassy could not be reached for comment Sunday.
According to a report from the Thai News Agency on Saturday, Cambodia’s refusal to reopen the checkpoint “flies in the face of an agreement” between the two countries.
Nuth Sa An, secretary of state for the Interior Ministry, welcomed Thailand’s withdrawal on Sunday and said officials at the ministry will discuss the reopening of the border with co-Interior Ministers Sar Kheng and Prince Norodom Sirivudh this week.
Var Kim Hong, chairman of Cambodia’s national border committee, dismissed the dispute as having been resolved.
“We have no problem because they have already withdrawn their troops,” he said Sunday. “The Preah Vihear governor is waiting to reopen the checkpoint after they hold negotiations with Thai authorities this week.”
About 400 Thai soldiers reportedly moved onto the neutral land separating the two countries on the night of May 11 and began building living quarters and trenches. A Thai government official in Phnom Penh last week said the soldiers were there to protect Thai villages and prevent weapons smuggling.
Around 300 Cambodian police and soldiers were deployed near the temple and concealed in the forest in response, a Cambodian border official said last week.