US urges bilateral solution to Cambodia-Thai border dispute

Other News Materials 16 September 2008 10:29 (UTC +04:00)

The United States advocated a bilateral solution to the ongoing border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia, US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said Tuesday.

Wrapping up a three-day official visit during which he met Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and Prime Minister Hun Sen, Negroponte said the US hoped to see a peaceful end to the dispute between the two neighbours, reported dpa.

"We think this is a dispute the differences of which should be resolved peacefully ... and preferably bilaterally," he said. "It is important the use of force and coercion be avoided at all costs."

Thai troops moved into territory around the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple on the Thai-Cambodian border in July, just one week after UNESCO awarded the temple World Heritage listing over Thai objections. Thailand says the territory is disputed land while Cambodia claims it as sovereign territory.

The Ta Moan temple complex, 150 kilometres to the west, was also occupied by Thai soldiers, Cambodia said, as was Ta Krabey, a third temple, earlier this month.

Thailand called those claims baseless and noted it has always had troops stationed near the two sites.

But Prime Minister Hun Sen let his anger over the spread of the dispute to Ta Krabey be known in statements to local media through his cabinet.

He ordered authorities to get their documents in order and be ready to go to the UN Security Council or other international bodies for third-party mediation, government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said Monday.