No more ministerial talks over temples for now, says Cambodia

Other News Materials 4 August 2008 16:40 (UTC +04:00)

Talks between the foreign ministers of Cambodia and Thailand are over for now - at least until Cambodia forms a new government, expected in late September, government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said Monday.

"There will be no more meetings. Wait until the new government is formed," Kanharith said at a press conference for the visit of Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, reported dpa.

Instead, discussions would be left to the border committees on both sides for now, he said. The tensions on the northern border auger badly for pending negotiations over disputed sea borders which hold potentially rich oil fields in the balance.

Cambodia has said it will take the border dispute surrounding ancient temples the United Nations Security Council if bilateral talks fail.

Tensions flared on July 15 when Cambodia detained briefly three Thai protestors it said had strayed into Cambodian land after Preah Vihear temple was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site against Thai wishes. Thailand retaliated by sending in troops.

Sunday the dispute spread to Ta Moan Thom temple, hundreds of kilometres to the west, further straining relations.

Meanwhile, the Kuwaiti prime minister had some poignant words for Cambodia Monday during his 3-day official visit, Kanharith said.

"He told us once Kuwait was invaded by Iraq but now it has an embassy in Iraq," Kanharith said, referring to the 1991 Gulf War.

"Kuwait wants to solve problems by peaceful means ... not fighting."