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Terrorism & Security

Thailand, Cambodia dig in on border dispute

Cambodia says Thai soldiers retreated Tuesday in response to an ultimatum, but Thailand reports sending reinforcements to the disputed region.

By Huma Yusuf / October 14, 2008

Thai troops reportedly retreated Tuesday from a disputed border region in response to an ultimatum issued by Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen.

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On Monday, Mr. Hun had warned that Cambodian forces would turn the contested border strip near the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple into a "death zone" if Thai troops did not retreat within 24 hours. But analysts argue that the Thai-Cambodian standoff at the site of the ancient Hindu temple will receive less attention from the Thai government than the ongoing political upheaval in Bangkok.

According to the Associated Press (AP), Thai troops retreated from the contested area ahead of a noon deadline set by Sen.

But Reuters reports that more Thai troops were sent to the border region on Tuesday.

According to The Nation, a Thai daily, Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat suggested that a troop withdrawal is impossible and called a meeting to discuss the Cambodian threat.

Cambodia's ultimatum to Thailand came after a meeting Monday in Phnom Penh between Thai Foreign Minister Sompong Amornwiwat and his Cambodian counterpart, Hor Namhong, to discuss the border controversy. According to the AP, Cambodia's Foreign Ministry initially proposed more negotiations with Thailand to resolve the matter peacefully.

Given the tone of the encounter between the Thai and Cambodian foreign ministers, the Cambodian ultimatum, issued on Monday, took the Thai authorities by surprise, reports The Nation.


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