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article imageCambodia, Thailand clashes enter fourth day, UN called for help

By Andrew Moran     Feb 7, 2011 in Politics
Bangkok - On the other side of the world, clashes between Cambodia and Thailand have resulted in the death of a Thai civilian and a Cambodian soldier. Both sides have blamed each for inciting strife, which led to the damage of an 11th century Hindu temple.
During the last four days, both Cambodian and Thai security forces have exchanged heavy gunfire. The government of Thailand stated that they did not start the crossfire, but a Cambodian government spokesperson blamed Thai soldiers for the incident, according to BBC News.
The Phnom Penh Post, a news media outlet based in Cambodia, reported Monday that at least five people have been killed. Furthermore, the conflict has resulted in significant protests in Bangkok and damage to the Preah Vihear Temple, a UN World Heritage Site.
At a Government House press conference, Xinhua notes that Thai army spokesperson Sansern Kaewkamnerd said that a truce was agreed upon Friday afternoon but that gunfire regenerated Sunday: “The Thai side did not start the shooting and we returned the fire to make the Cambodians stop.”
Bloomberg News reports that on Sunday, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen stated in a letter to the UN Security Council:
“These attacks were premeditated and well planned in advance, notably with the use of military illuminating flares to guide the opening shots, to create a situation which would serve Cambodia’s political objective of internationalizing what is essentially a bilateral issue while bilateral negotiations are still ongoing.”
Hun Sen further iterated that the two sides need UN peacekeepers in order to create a “buffer zone” that would “guarantee that there is no more fight.”
Preah Vihear Temple  an 11th century Hindu temple created during the Khlmer Empire.
Preah Vihear Temple, an 11th century Hindu temple created during the Khlmer Empire.
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The Globe and Mail reports that Thailand’s Foreign Ministry also sent a letter to the UN Security Council, in which it blamed Cambodia for “repeated and armed attacks by Cambodian troops,” but it’s the first time that the Thai government has sought foreign involvement in their repeated disputes.
“Thailand reaffirms that it can solve the issue through bilateral mechanism,” said a Thai foreign minister secretary during a press conference. “We will fully exercise our patience and restraint. But at the same time, we need to exercise the right of self-defense on the basis of necessity and proportionality.”
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