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Cambodian, Thai defense officials begin talks on troop withdrawal from disputed border
[June 27, 2012]

Cambodian, Thai defense officials begin talks on troop withdrawal from disputed border

PHNOM PENH, Jun 27, 2012 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The second meeting of Cambodia- Thailand Joint Working Group (JWG) kicked off here on Wednesday, continuing talks on troop pullout from the disputed border area surrounding Preah Vihear temple.

The one-day meeting was co-chaired by Gen. Neang Phat, secretary of state at Cambodia's defense ministry, and Gen.

Worapong Sanganetra, chief of joint staff at the Royal Thai Army.

Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Neang Phat said that the meeting was to continue discussion on procedures to implement the order of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) dated July 18, 2011.

The order stated that Cambodia and Thailand must immediately withdraw their military personnel from the Provisional Demilitarized Zone (PDZ) surrounding Preah Vihear temple and allow ASEAN observers (Indonesians) to access to the zone to monitor ceasefire.

Currently, both sides have pressed for demining in the areas of A, B, C, and D, which are defined by the court, said Neang Phat.

"Cambodia is looking forwards to seeing the redeployment of military personnel from the PDZ to comply with the ICJ's order," he said.

Gen. Worapong Sanganetra said the meeting would build further mutual understanding between the two countries' troops and create a safe environment for the border areas.

Cambodia and Thailand have border conflict just a week after the UNESCO approved Cambodia's bid to have the Preah Vihear temple named a World Heritage Site on July 07, 2008. Thailand claims the ownership of 4.6 square kilometers (1.8 square miles) of scrub next to the temple.

The conflict led to deadly armed clashes in February and April 2011 during Thailand's Democrat Party rule.

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