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Monday, September 05, 2011

Cambodia makes 7th troop withdraw from border with Thailand

PREAH VIHEAR, Cambodia, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia on Monday pulled out another 500 troops from the border area with Thailand, marking the seventh of such withdrawals since the two neighboring countries' military tension began to ease in July.

The troops in the Battalion No. 408 stationed along Cambodian and Thai border, some 32 kilometers west of the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple, moved back to their barracks in Siem Reap province.

The troop pullback ceremony was held on Monday with the participation of Gen. Kun Kim, deputy commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Force, and Gen. Chea Dara, deputy commander-in-chief of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces for Preah Vihear Direction.

Kun Kim reiterated that the pullout was made at the behest of Prime Minister Hun Sen, adding the withdrawals have been made only outside the provisional demilitarized zone (PDZ) defined by the International Court of Justice.

"The pullout from the PDZ of about 17 kilometers surrounding the Preah Vihear temple must be done simultaneously with Thai troops," he said.

On July 18, the International Court of Justice ordered Cambodia and Thailand to immediately withdraw their military personnel from the provisional demilitarized zone on the disputed border near Preah Vihear temple and allow ASEAN observers access to the provisional demilitarized zone to monitor ceasefire.

The conflict between Cambodia and Thailand broke out just a week after the Preah Vihear temple was listed as World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008.

Thailand claims the ownership of 4.6 sq km of scrub next to the temple.

However, the military tension has eased since former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's Pheu Thai Party won a landslide victory in July's general election.

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