Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Sok An tells British and Russian ambassadors that the Thais used unconventional arms

PHNOM PENH, February 10 (PRU) – Dr. Sok An told  foreign diplomats late Friday that Thai troops fired rounds of unconventional shells, comprising  cluster bombs and gas shells at Cambodia’s soldiers during their artillery  battles with Cambodia between  4- 7 February, 2011.

His Excellency Dr. Sok An said that extremist Thais, precisely the Yellow-Shirts, had pressured Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to send Thai troops to dislodge Cambodian villagers from vicinity of the temple of Preah Vihear, which cannot be accepted by Phnom Penh.

“So the situation is very dangerous now. We can see Thai Prime minister Ahisit is working to fulfill the Yellow-Shirt’s demand toseize Cambodia’s land,” he said in the meeting.

Dr. Sok An cited Cambodia’s military source saying that Thai military is building up 25,000 troops along the border supported by more than 100 tanks and heavy weapons.

“The situation is very tough, very dangerous. Nobody can tell whenThailand will attack us again,” Deputy Prime Minister told the two diplomats who wanted to learn more about the Cambodia-Thailand bordersituation.

He said Thai had destroyed Cambodia’s market near the temple before and now they are trying to destroy Cambodia's territory and propertyeven more.

“Thai troops have seriously damaged our Preah Vihear temple and a Buddhist pagoda,” Dr. Sok An told the diplomats.

He briefed the diplomats about the Thai aggression of attacking Cambodia near the Preah Vihear temple from 4 to 7 February, 2011, killing 4 Cambodia’s troops, one policeman, and 2 civilians.

At least 30 Cambodian civilians were wounded by direct bombardments by the Thai  army, he said.

More than 3,000 families comprising more than 10,000 displaced villagers, many of whom are are women and children, have been displaced as a result of Thai ombardment of their villages, said Dr. Sok An.

The Deputy Prime Minister told Russian and British ambassadors that Cambodia has petitioned the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), seeking the world body to interpret the ICJ’s decision of 1962 and to send a fact finding mission and or U.N military observers to monitor the cease fire in the area.

“This is the best means to reduce tension and to eliminate the war,” said Dr. Sok An, adding that “these actions meant that there is no hostility to either Thailand or Cambodia.”

Cambodia also sought ASEAN's role in settling the border dispute with Thailand. Cambodia has sent a letter to UNESCO who said they will send its experts to assess the damages sustained by the Preah Vihear temple as a direct result of the Thai shelling.

The UN's legal institution, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) had in 1962 ruled  that: the Temple of Preah Vihear is situated in territory under the sovereignty of Cambodia.

The court found that Thailand is under obligation to withdraw any military or police forces, or other guards or keepers, stationed by her at the Temple, or in its vicinity on Cambodian territory.

Thailand is under an obligation to restore to Cambodia any objects of the kind specified in the Cambodia’s fifth submission which may, since the date of the occupation of the Temple by Thailand in 1954, have been removed from the Temple or the Temple area by the Thai authority, said ICJ’s Judgment.

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