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Cambodian, Thai army chiefs pledge to improve military ties

(Xinhua)

09:45, March 29, 2012

PHNOM PENH, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian and Thai army chiefs on Wednesday pledged to build up good military relations and cooperation between the two armies and agreed to forget the bitter experience of border clashes in the past.

The promise was made during a 30-minute meeting between Gen. Pol Saroeun, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, and visiting Gen. Thanasak Patimaprakorn, Chief of Defence Forces of the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters.

In the meeting, Gen. Pol Saroeun suggested that both sides' armies put previous border clashes aside and look forward to building a border with peace, development and cooperation for the interests of the two countries' peoples.

Gen. Thanasak Patimaprakorn agreed with the idea and asked Cambodian side to give him good cooperation as he was just newly appointed for the position in October last year.

Cambodia and Thailand have had sporadic border conflict over territorial dispute near Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple since the UNESCO listed the temple as a World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008 and witnessed fierce clashes in February and April 2011 during Thailand's Democrat Party rule.

On April 28, 2011, Cambodia submitted a request to the International Court of Justice for interpretation of its judgment on June 15, 1962 in the case concerning the ancient temple. It was accompanied by an urgent request for provisional measures in which Cambodia demands Thailand immediately and unconditionally withdraw troops from area surrounding the ruined temple.

During the interval of waiting for the verdict interpretation, the ICJ ordered Cambodia and Thailand on July 18, 2011 to immediately withdraw their military personnel from the Provisional Demilitarized Zone (PDZ) and allow ASEAN observers (Indonesians) to access to the zone to monitor ceasefire.

However, so far neither Cambodia nor Thailand has withdrawn its troops from the area.

The Wednesday's meeting between the two army chiefs did not talk about the troop exit from the zone.

Thanasak Patimaprakorn arrived here on Wednesday morning in order to join the 9th ASEAN Chiefs of Defence Forces Informal Meeting (ACDFIM) on March 29.

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