Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fighting resumes between Thailand and Cambodia

The armies of Thailand and Cambodia broke the ceasefire and new battles fought today on the common border, then make way for new talks to end eight days of fighting. A Thai army spokesman reported that "the situation has calmed, but remains tense." Since hostilities began on 22 April, 16 people were killed, all soldiers on both sides Thai least one civilian, and tens of thousands have fled their homes for fear of violence, officials said.

Most of the fighting occurred around the ancient Khmer temples of Ta Meun, Preah Vihear and Ta Kwai. In the Cambodian village of Samrong, 30 km from Ta Moan and Ta Krabei About 36,000 people are sheltered in makeshift shelters in schools and pagodas. "Most people have diarrhea problems for drinking unboiled water and there are many infections," said Mun Nara, a doctor at the health center these days Samrong assists refugees.

Under tarps or plastic, about five square feet, huddle between twenty and thirty people, but nobody raises a return home for fear of the fighting. "It's very difficult to live here. We do not want to stay. We have nothing," says the Thai Cambodian Thueng who spend the night for six days in one of the tents that the authorities have installed next to a pagoda.

"I have to go back to take care of the earth, but I will not until they stop shooting," says the farmer Thaen Thy, 32, who lives six miles from one of the temples in dispute. The armies of both countries agreed yesterday to a cease-fire, but late at night the gunfire started and lasted until the next day.

Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Head of Security, Suthep Thaugsuban, said today that "can not consider the breakdown of the ceasefire because it used personal weapons." "But if the fighting include heavy weapons fire, then the agreement will be invalidated," said Thaugsuban, who took the opportunity to blame the shooting Cambodia.

The Cambodian authorities meanwhile accused Thailand of opening fire first, which proves his lack of interest in wanting to resolve the conflict. "Less than twelve hours later (to agree a ceasefire), the Thai army attacked again and the fight lasted until morning," denounced on Tuesday a spokesman for the Government of Cambodia.

"Bilateral negotiations may be useful to solve an honest differences between neighbors who want peace with sincerity. The present Government of Thailand does not meet those conditions," said Cambodia through an official statement. "Their calls for bilateral negotiations are aimed at closing the door to international witnesses and gain time to their aggression," the spokesman added Cambodia.

Political observers believe the government of Thailand takes the conflict to gain leverage in the upcoming elections, while Cambodia is used to hide internal problems. "The Thai military clearly see the dispute as a way to inject nationalist sentiment and also to strengthen its role as a defender of national security and political life," said Joshua Kurlantzick the U.S., the Council on Foreign Relations.

The border between the two countries, heavily mined, has never been clearly defined since France abandoned their colonies in Southeast Asia after World War II and have been frequent disputes sovereigntists. The current conflict has dragged on since 2008, when UNESCO declared world heritage site on Cambodian territory and included Preah Vihear, a Hindu monument of XI century.

Currently, Thailand and Preah Vihear not claim, but if several square miles surrounding.

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